Cuomo Meets With Trump About SALT, But Little Progress Is Made

February 12, 2019 - 6:32 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to Washington Tuesday to urge President Donald Trump to rethink a provision in the 2017 tax overhaul that he believed is prompting a sharp decline in state revenues.

The two met to discuss the tax law’s $10,000 cap on federal deduction for state and local taxes.

"It is a critical issue for New York State because it's essentially a tax increase on New Yorkers, and remember New York already pays more to the federal government than any state in the United States of America,” Gov. Cuomo told WBCS 880 following the meeting.

Cuomo said that the cap is prompting wealthy residents to flee the state and is contributing to a recent drop of more than $2 billion in tax receipts.

"To me, there is no more vital long-term issue for the state from a financial point of view than SALT," Cuomo said. "It has created two different tax structures in this country. And it has created a preferential tax structure in Republican states." 

Following the meeting, the White House issued a statement saying, “This meeting demonstrates the President's willingness to meet regularly with our Nation's governors.”

A spokesperson noted that the president heard the governor’s concerns regarding SALT and reiterating the negative impact that high taxes in states like New York have on hardworking families and job creators.

“The President discussed economic growth opportunities for the State of New York, including helping lower energy prices throughout the entire Northeast by allowing low-cost, American energy to thrive with fracking and pipeline systems,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said. “The two also discussed the need to update America's outdated infrastructure system.”

Speaking later with WCBS 880’s Steve Scott and Michael Wallace, the governor seemed to speak positively of the meeting.

Though, he did take aim at Republicans, noting that the tax bill was passed “under a Republican Senate and a Republican Congress.”

“We now have a Democratic Congress and the Democratic Congress understands this fully, it’s Democratic states that are paying the price and the Democrats are moving it aggressively,” Cuomo said.

“The president understands it,” the governor said. “He got away with it when he had total control, they did it when they did that tax bill that gave a big tax cut to the rich and the way they paid for the tax cut for the rich was by increasing the tax on Democratic states, believe it or not.”

Cuomo called the tax cap “the first tax on taxes.”

“You pay your state taxes and local taxes and then the federal government is going to tax you on what you paid in taxes,” the governor explained.

He adds: “It's ironic that the administration that talks about being against redistribution of income, they hate when you say you should tax the rich to provide services, they call it redistribution, this is redistribution on steroids.”

The Democratic governor says Congress will be “persistent” in addressing the issue and that the president is willing to work with them to find a solution.

“I'm organizing governors all across the nation. I've been briefing Congressional members and the president understands it,” Cuomo noted. “The president previously said that he was open to a change, he suggested he was open to a change here also because he understands you hurt New York, you hurt California, you're hurting the economic engines of the nation.”

Cuomo said he also raised the issue of funding for the Gateway Tunnel project, which would create new railway tunnels that would connect New York and New Jersey.

“I brought that up again and I’m not gonna give up on that,” Cuomo said. “That is an Amtrak tunnel, Amtrak is owned by the federal government. It’s not like the L train tunnel that we talk about, which is an MTA tunnel. This is an Amtrak, federally owned tunnel, 100-years-old, and it’s dangerous and they don’t want to pay for it.”

The governor told the president he is worried about “his tunnel” and urged Trump to put aside politics to reach an agreement on “basic infrastructure needs.”

Gov. Cuomo later added: “I haven’t gotten a ‘yes’ on Gateway.”

Listen to the full interview with Gov. Andrew Cuomo above.