N.Y. to sue federal gov’t over ‘unconstitutional’ tax law

By Ray Downs   |   UPI

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he will sue the federal government over the recently passed tax law, which he said was unfair to his state and unconstitutional.

“Washington has launched an all-out, direct attack on New York State’s economic future,” Cuomo said in his “State of the State” speech to state lawmakers, according to the Washington Post. “It is crass. It is ugly. It is divisive. It is partisan legislating. It is an economic civil war. Make no mistake: They are aiming to hurt us.”

At issue for New Yorkers is the $10,000 deduction cap for income, sales and property taxes, also known as the SALT deduction. About 90 percent of New Yorkers who use SALT have incomes of more than $100,000 per year, according to the Tax Foundation, which is almost twice the median state income.

But New York has high taxes and imposing a $10,000 cap will significantly raise taxes for many in the state. For example, the average tax property bill in Westchester County, located just north of New York City, is $15,000 per year, USA Today reported. The New York City median property tax also exceeds $10,000 and several counties in Western New York average close to $5,000 each year.

“Washington’s tax plan now uses New York and California as piggy banks to finance tax cuts for Republican states,” Cuomo said, according to The Hill.

Lilian Faulhaber, associate professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, told CNN the now-eliminated SALT deduction greatly helps New Yorkers get a break on their taxes.

“The SALT deduction is not only valuable to taxpayers, it also often pushes them out of standard deduction and they benefit from other deductions as well,” she said.

Although Cuomo said he plans to fight the federal tax law, it’s not clear which constitutional grounds will be used. But state officials say they will be able to make a case.

“New York State is exploring a variety of legal claims in response to the divisive federal SALT law,” the state’s chief counsel, Alphonso David, said in a statement. “The practical and intended impact of this law is to impose a disadvantage on ‘blue’ states. Courts have historically rejected government action that inappropriately targets a class of people and this should be no different.”

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