House candidate Rosemary Becchi lobbied for the 2018 Republican tax plan that imposed a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, though she said she pushed portions of the bill unrelated to SALT.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where Becchi is strategic adviser and counsel, reported earning roughly $60,000 over the third and fourth quarters of 2018 for lobbying related to the tax on behalf of the National Alliance of Forest Owners. Becchi, one of four lobbyists named in the firm’s filings, said her work on the bill focused on retirement savings.
“I have advocated for lower taxes and less regulation my entire career,” she said. “I did not specifically work on particular provisions of the bill. I actually was working on some of the retirement savings provisions with respect to that bill.”
The filings said the Becchi and the three others lobbied on taxation of income and expenses related to timber, taxation of pass-through entities and the 2018 tax bill.
“The pieces of that bill that I worked on were on lowering taxes for my specific clients,” Becchi said. “Certainly, as a New Jersey citizen, I was fighting to keep the cap away.”
The SALT cap was one of the foremost issues in Rep. Mikie Sherrill’s 2018 race against Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and is poised renew that role in this year’s house races.
The 11th congressional district is one of New Jersey’s most affluent.
According to the Tax Policy Institute, more than half of the residents there took a SALT deduction in 2016. The average deduction that year was $23,478.
Democrats will likely launch new attacks over the SALT cap this year, and Becchi’s role in lobbying for the tax bill’s passage — regardless of the fact that she was not involved in lobbying for the cap — provides them with a new avenue of attack.
Sherrill’s campaign has already hit Becchi, a former tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, over her career as a lobbyist, though that attack did not specifically mention any of Becchi’s bills or clients.
It’s unclear whether voters will pick up on the minutia of Becchi’s work on the bill, though her opposition to the SALT cap is clear.
“With every tax bill there’s good and bad in it. That was the bad piece,” she said. “With any bill that gets enacted, there’s good and bad pieces to it.”