Did Nadler just come out against the "death tax" -- and state income taxes?

(AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

Don’t be silly. House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) didn’t announce his opposition to double taxation in the form of estate taxes or state income taxes. Instead, Nadler endorsed reform that would benefit, er … the wealthiest people in his state by having 49 other states subsidize New York’s absurd tax burden.

Nadler’s incompetent, not libertarian:

News flash for Nadler: In most states, everyone is already taxed twice on the same income, and in some places — like New York City — it’s more than twice. State with income taxes apply that tax to the entire income earned in the state, as does the federal government, and New York City has its own income tax. If Nadler thinks no one should ever be taxed twice on the same income, then he should address those policies within his own state. New York could follow the examples set by Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Nevada, among others, which do not levy income taxes on their residents.

Furthermore, Nadler could also take action himself to eliminate the federal estate tax. The Biden administration wants to expand it by dropping the threshold from $11 million to $1 million, which would tax even more money that had previously been subject to federal taxes in the past — either through income taxes or capital-gains taxes.

But that’s not the taxation that Nadler wants changed. Instead, he wants to repeal the caps placed on deductions for state and local taxes on federal returns, which isn’t really a double-taxation issue at all:

“Repealing the SALT limitation is a question of fundamental fairness. With the SALT limitation in place, New Yorkers — who already send $40 billion more in taxes to federal coffers than the state receives in return — face the manifestly unfair risk of being taxed twice on the same income,” Nadler said. “Now, as New York State reckons with the vast economic impact of COVID-19, including a workforce depletion of more than one million jobs, eliminating the SALT limitation is imperative. I and many of my colleagues from New York stand prepared to work with House Leadership to restore the SALT deduction. We are equally prepared to oppose any legislation that fails to do so.”

The cap affects high tax states like New York, Illinois and California. In the past, Cuomo has railed against the provision for also affecting heavily Democratic states when it was put in placed under Republican control.

“Our effort to restore the SALT deduction is gaining momentum. My thanks to Chairman Nadler, the Dean of the NY delegation, for his leadership and all of my NY colleagues that are fighting for New Yorkers,” Suozzi said. “The cap on the SALT deduction has been a body blow to New York and middle-class families throughout the country. Over the coming months we will work with House Leadership and the White House to highlight the middle-class families unfairly hurt by the SALT cap. At the end of the day, we must fix this injustice. No SALT, no deal.”

Actually, taxpayers can still deduct state and local taxes, up to $10,000. After that, though, the deduction ends. The only people who would benefit from eliminating the SALT cap are wealthier people who pay more in state and local taxes. In other words, Nadler’s proposal amounts to a tax cut for the wealthy, not a serious reform that benefits the “middle-class families throughout the country.” If that deduction is too low for middle-class New York families, it’s because New York imposes the highest tax burden on its citizens in the country.

That’s why New York presses hardest for eliminating the SALT caps. Essentially, they’re asking the other states to subsidize their high tax rates through those deductions in order to keep political pressure from building to cut taxes in the Empire State. That’s why Nadler’s making his incompetent argument for SALT cap elimination, using an argument that would make it moot in the first place.