NY-22 Minute: Tenney's Response to Tax Cut Projections By Luke Perry
Congresswoman Tenney’s office responded to my last NY-22 Minute piece analyzing the income numbers Tenney referenced in advocating for the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. This included an explanation of why Tenney decided to use a median household income of $85,692 to articulate the perceived benefits of the bill, a much higher amount than the median household income nationally and throughout the district.
“We used an example of approximately $80k (dual income, working family making approx $40k each) because everyone below those income levels aren’t impacted by SALT. We were demonstrating how those who benefit from SALT currently would still benefit under the new plan. Rep. Tenney made it very clear that this was her largest concern with the bill.
The SALT compromise reached will benefit nearly all property owners in the district. Anyone with a home value of approximately $450k and under will still be able to deduct their property taxes. This is nearly 99% of property owners in the district.”
There was no response to my request for tax cut projections for a median household in Utica or Oneida County.
The Senate is now debating its version of the bill. Non-partisan analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation in Congress projected that the bill under consideration will raise taxes on families making between $10,000 and $75,000.
In a recent interview with Sean Duffy, Tenney stated that “we have passed the entire agenda of the President.” Her biggest frustration with Washington is that we "can't get anything done in the Senate." Nearly 300 bills passed by the House await a vote, while the news media continually points out that Republicans control all the major parts of American government.
The Senate bill faces a variety of challenges, including potentially costing more than $1.5 trillion over 10 years in violation of parliamentary rules. Many changes are possible in this evening’s “vote-a-rama," a process where many proposed amendments will be considered and voted on.
One area to watch is whether the Senate bill includes a trigger, advocated by Senator Bob Corker and others, who are concerned about increased federal debt. The trigger, controversial among Republicans, would require tax increases if projected economic growth does not materialize. Tenney has stated that the House tax reform plan was based on “an estimated nine percent long-term growth rate.”
A survey of dozens of economists conducted by the American Economic Association found that economists believed the U.S. debt to GDP ratio would be substantially higher under the House and Senate bills and not result in substantial GDP growth over the next decade. Corporate executives have echoed the belief that corporate tax cuts won’t necessarily result in more jobs and higher wages.
Congresswoman Tenney has been somewhat pragmatic on the issue of tax cuts, recently suggesting she would not vote for a final piece of legislation that completely did away with SALT, as the current Senate bill does. Still, the best prospects for passage lies with the House adopting the Senate bill, assuming Senate Republicans can reach an agreement. Having to reconcile two separate versions could prove very difficult given the array of concerns within the GOP and the small margin of error resulting from the Republicans proceeding without Democratic support.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.