Centrist Rep. Tom Suozzi has spent weeks railing against the left, claims massive tax break is “very progressive”

By Igor Derysh, Salon

Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York is a centrist Democrat from suburban Long Island who has spent recent weeks attacking the left and is likely to quit Congress altogether within a matter of days, ahead of a likely 2022 campaign for governor. But for his last act in the House, Suozzi wants to jam through a massive tax break that disproportionately favors wealthy homeowners in a handful of liberal states. Progressives are fighting back against expanding this tax deduction, known as SALT, and Suozzi is furious. “SALT is a very progressive policy,” he told Salon in a heated phone interview.

Suozzi, the vice-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, has repeated his “No SALT, no deal” mantra for months, in reference to President Biden’s Build Back Better package. Now he’s frustrated that his proposal, an $85 billion annual tax cut that would overwhelmingly flow to the top 5% of earners, is being watered down in Congress to make room for key Democratic priorities. He’s furious that his state got screwed by the Trump tax cuts. He’s angry that the rich, he says, are leaving New York’s high tax rates for Republican tax havens like Florida. And he’s had it with “phony-baloney” narratives on the left, and insists that a tax break designed to keep wealthy people in Northeast Corridor states, where their taxes fund the Democratic agenda, is a “progressive” policy.

Rep. Tom Suozzi stands in front of a background of falling money

group of moderate Democrats from high-cost, high-tax states, led by Suozzi and Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, has issued a last-minute ultimatum demanding a roll-back of the cap on the State and Local Tax deduction or SALT. That cap was a Trump-era policy change that limits the amount high-earners may deduct from their federal taxes (to offset local taxes) to $10,000. This internal battle over a poorly-understood provision of tax policy has left Democrats with a big narrative problem.

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