Rep. Eshoo Argues for Repeal of SALT Cap on House Floor

June 29, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), member of the SALT Caucus, gave the following remarks on the House floor arguing for the repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap. You can find a video of her remarks HERE.

Anyone that’s tuned in this evening from across the country is hearing a lot of passion spill over from the podium here. And for very good reason.

In 2017, despite the opposition of every single Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives and many Republicans, Congress passed a tax law that bulldozed the State and Local Tax deduction.

This hurts a lot of people. Now that was close to a $5 trillion package, and so why was this bulldozed? They went through the tax code, looking for things that were deductible to lower the price tag of a highly inequitable tax package.

The SALT deduction, as it’s known, was capped at $10,000 for both individuals and married couples filing jointly.

I viewed this then as I do today… as an assault on the middle class of our country, and it was one of the main reasons I voted against the 2017 tax law.

Now I think that if you ask the question of 435 members of the House “do you support the middle class?” they’d all say yes. But the record shows something else. We know that everyone aspires to get into the middle class, and we know that the middle class as my father used to say is made up of extraordinary, ordinary people that are the backbone of this country. And that’s why this policy is so wrong and so hurtful.

This is a very important deduction for the middle-class. You file longterm, you have four areas you can deduct: the mortgage interest deduction; charitable contributions; health care expenses; and state and local taxes and they wipe that out. Now you tell me whether that’s fair or not. I don’t think so, and I don’t think that people across the country do either.

Capping the SALT deduction affects nearly 200,000 families in my congressional district. I’m not talking about the whole state of California. I’m talking about California’s 18th congressional district. And it’s raised taxes on over a million households in California.

Prior to this harmful cap, my constituents, hold on to your seats, hold on to your hats, deducted an average of $63,083 in state and local taxes. Wiped it out.

Some have unfairly maligned the SALT deduction as a benefit for the wealthy, I think it’s an essential deduction for taxpayers in high-cost, high-tax states like California. And that’s been spoken to earlier.

In the Bay Area, the beautiful Bay Area of Northern California, the cost of living is really very expensive and it keeps going up. It’s so high that the Economic Policy Institute estimates that a family of four needs to earn more than $100,000 to earn a modest but adequate standard of living. That’s simply a fact.

Prior to the 2017 law, more than 3 million households in California with an income of less than $100,000 annually claimed this deduction, as did nearly a third of taxpayers nationwide.

This evening, I think each one of us outlined why this is wrong, why the deductibility needs to be restored.

As Congress considers legislation to reform our tax code, and when we do, so should the restoration of this deductibility be restored. Why? Because the middle class is the backbone of America. We should not be assaulting them, we should be assisting them.