U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo announced he will vote against the Republican-backed tax plan Tuesday that President Donald Trump and Republican leadership have said they hope to pass and have signed before Christmas.
LoBiondo, R-2nd District, said while the final bill is an improvement over the one the House of Representatives passed in November, the $10,000 cap on state and local income tax and property tax was a deal-breaker in his final decision.
“When the tax-reform debate began, I made clear what I could and could not support in a final bill. Hard-working South Jersey residents already face excessive taxes from Trenton, thus preserving key deductions at the federal level would be critical to garner my support,” LoBiondo said in a statement. “While improvements have been made from the House-passed version to retain deductions for medical and educational expenses, the $10,000 collective cap on state and local income tax and property tax deductions will be detrimental in my high-tax state of New Jersey. I will be voting NO as it is in the best interest of my South Jersey constituents.”
A representative for U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-3rd District, did not respond to a request for comment. MacArthur did, however, vote in favor of the original tax plan that passed the House of Representatives in November.
For Trump, passing the tax bill would be the first major legislative victory of his presidency as he enters his second year in office.
The tax plan, which would significantly change the federal tax structure in the United States, permanently slashes the tax rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent and reduces rates on the wealthiest Americans, while making more modest tax reductions for most others.
The tax cuts for individuals are temporary, expiring in 2026. It doubles the standard deduction used by most Americans, to $24,000 for married couples, also ending in eight years.
Projections by the Tax Policy Center, a group of nonpartisan tax analysts, say that individual taxes would be reduced next year by $1,600 on average.
That ranges from $60 for people earning below $25,000 to $7,640 for those making above $149,000, according to the projections. Those in the top 1 percent — earning over $733,000 — would see average tax cuts of $51,140.
After the individual cuts expire, the projections found, average taxes would rise for everyone earning under $75,000 by 2027.
The bill is projected to boost federal budget shortfalls by nearly $1.5 trillion over the coming decade.
Both the House and Senate plan to vote on the legislation Tuesday.
No Democrats are expected to vote for the bill in the Senate. Thirteen House Republicans voted against the House bill last month, all but one from high-tax California, New York and New Jersey in protest of reduced deductions for state and local taxes. But the math clearly will carry the package through Congress.
LoBiondo was one of the Republicans who voted against the bill following fierce backlash from residents and state lawmakers in New Jersey.
Many of the concerns from New Jersey residents revolve around the partial elimination of the state and local tax deduction, also known as SALT. Others, however, say the bill is nothing more than a gift to wealthy individuals and large corporations.
Earlier this month, local residents held a rally outside LoBiondo’s office protesting the bill.
“I’m really glad (LoBiondo) will vote against this, but I’m hoping that he can convince some of his colleagues to do the same,” said Caren Fitzpatrick, a Democratic freeholder-elect in Atlantic County and one of the organizers of the rally earlier this month. “I think he has responded to the public outcry, and he’s been explaining his decisions much more on (social media) recently.”
LoBiondo, who will retire at the end of his current term, also voted against repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, stating he did not think the GOP healthcare plan was right for the district and that it would “kick people to the curb.”
On Monday, moderate Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she’d support the tax bill, meaning all voting Republicans are expected to back it, enough for passage. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is at home battling brain cancer and is expected to miss the vote. The Republican Party controls the Senate 52-48.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.