On the day before federal tax returns are due, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) today released a Dear Colleague letter soliciting support for his House resolution supporting the protection of the federal tax deduction for state/local property taxes. Rep. Pascrell, the only member from New Jersey who serves on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, invoked the recent statement from presumed Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in which he laid out his plan to eliminate this important deduction for middle class New Jersey families.
"Last night, behind closed doors, Mitt Romney told a group of conservative donors to his campaign that he wants to eliminate the property tax deduction to help pay for another round of tax cuts for his rich buddies," Rep. Pascrell posted on his Facebook page this morning. "Not on my watch! The property tax deduction is incredibly important to New Jersey families, especially in Bergen and Passaic Counties, which pay the 4th and 9th highest property taxes in the entire country."
Rep. Pascrell has been the leader in the House on defending the property tax deduction, and in February he introduced H.Res 557, which calls for the Federal Property Tax Deduction not to be restricted. The Pascrell resolution has picked up support from an array of organizations including: the National Association of Realtors, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties and the National Association of Home Builders.
"The Romney plan would be a disaster for people of New Jersey, and other states that have seen their property taxes go up year after year. I've introduced a House resolution to protect this critical deduction from folks like Romney and need the support of all my colleagues. Count on me to lead the charge on demanding fairness for New Jersey middle class families," concluded Pascrell.
NBC News first reported Romney's private remarks to wealthy Republican contributors:
"I'm going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction," Romney said, adding that he would also likely eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well.
The text of the letter sent to all 435 members of Congress can be found below:
April 16, 2012
On Tax Day: Protect the Federal Property Tax Deduction
Support H. Res. 557
Supported by: National Association of Realtors, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties and National Association of Home Builders
Tomorrow is Tax Day, and I want to offer you the chance to stand will the millions of American families who will be taking a Federal Property Tax Deduction to limit the ever increasing amount they are paying in state and local property taxes. Join me by co-sponsoring H. Res 557, which states that the property Federal Property Tax Deduction should not be further restricted.
For most homeowners, property taxes are their second biggest expense, behind only the interest paid on their mortgages. With the economic crisis straining the budgets of local municipalities, property taxes will continue to rise in many communities for the foreseeable future. This is why the federal property tax deduction is so important to the middle class.
Median property taxes paid across the United States have increased at a substantial rate, rising 29 percent from 2004 to 2009 and resulting in a median property taxes bill of $2,043 in 2010. During the same period of time, median home value only increased 22 percent, including a 6 percent decrease in 2008. All the while, homeowners' median income only increased 13 percent from 2004 to 2009.
Thankfully, the Internal Revenue Code provides homeowners the opportunity to limit the net amount they pay on property taxes, by providing for deduction against Federal income tax liability. In 2010, there was $202.8 billion in property taxes paid, and 40.7 million taxpayers utilized this deduction to save an average of $4,231.
Some have called for the federal property tax deduction to be restricted or eliminated entirely. I ask you to join me in supporting the federal property tax deduction by co-sponsoring H. Res. 557, which calls for the Federal Property Tax Deduction should not be further restricted. For any questions or to be added as a co-sponsor, contact Keith Castaldo in my office at Keith.Castaldo@mail.house.gov.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress