BAYVILLE, N.J. — Despite key differences between the House and Senate versions of the Republican tax reform bill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday the effort was “very, very close.”
“There are some specific differences, but generally the two bills are very close and, more important, the objectives are the same, which is middle income tax cuts and making business competitive,” Mnuchin said at an event with Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, and Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in Ocean County.
Both Mnuchin and Trump painted the reform effort as bringing relief to the middle class and stimulating business growth and competition by cutting corporate tax rates.
Trump said she believed the House and Senate were in "complete alignment in that vision."
“We believe that cutting the rate of taxes on corporations, medium-sized and small businesses is going to accomplish the goal of putting more money back in the of America workers,” Trump said.
One of the big divisions between the two bills is what happens to the state and local property tax deduction, known as SALT, which could disproportionately impact high-tax states, such as New Jersey and New York.
Around 40 percent of New Jersey taxpayers claim the SALT deduction, according to the Tax Foundation.
The House version includes a $10,000 cap on the property tax deduction, but doesn’t allow for a deduction on state income and sales taxes. The Senate version eliminates the SALT deduction entirely.
On Monday, Mnuchin said “nobody has fought harder” than MacArthur for the SALT deduction.
MacArthur, who represents a swing district that includes Burlington and Ocean counties, came out against the House tax plan the day it was released on account of the $10,000 cap, saying it was “too low.”
But he quickly reversed course the next day and said the cap was a “victory,” since the vast majority of New Jerseyans would benefit.
Average property taxes in New Jersey totaled just over $8,500 in 2016, according to data posted by the State Department of Community Affairs.
“I’m here to tell you I’m in the yes column and I’m continuing to fight as I have been to make this a better bill,” said MacArthur, in whose district Monday’s event was held.