In Trenton today, everybody was getting along just fine.
Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin came together at a joint press conference to take on a common foe: President Donald Trump.
“We are together in this fight,” Murphy said. “Let there be no doubt”
The Big Three were on the same page on New Jersey’s plan to fight proposed changes to Internal Revenue Service rules that would top New Jerseyans from using a loophole the state came up with earlier this year to avoid the elimination of the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions.
“Our law was carefully drafted to fit within the rules the IRS already had on the books,” said Murphy. “This was hardly anything revolutionary. We’re hardly being George Washington here.”
Murphy said the IRS had already approved similar plans in 33 other states, noting that many were “red states.”
“We weren’t asking for special treatment. We were simply to see our taxpayers to be treated equally in the face of a president who views us very unequally,” Murphy said. “More New Jerseyans will seek their taxes rise more than any other state in the nation.”
One plan is for the state Attorney General to take the IRS to court, if filing formal objections doesn’t work.
“This isn’t fair,” Sweeney said. This is a fight we have to wage.”
Coughlin said fighting Trump is “something that we have to do.”
Murphy didn’t hesitate to throw some solid punches at Trump.
“In President Trump’s view, New Jersey’s just an ATM to withdraw from, to give money to the states that supported him,” Murphy said. “That’s not tax reform — that’s political payola.”
Murphy said that “you don’t even need a degree from Trump University to see that this is a raw deal for New Jersey.
“Perhaps if the president ever bothered to step off the golf course at his compound in Bedminster to speak with ordinary New Jerseyans, as we do every single day, he’d know this and he’d know we’re tired of getting unequal treatment,” the governor said. “Yesterday, President Trump and his administration responded to our effort. The IRS is simply changing the rules to effectively invalidate our law.
Murphy accused the IRS of an “extraordinary politicization of our revenue process” and said the proposed rule change “is absolutely regulatory overreach.
“Trump and the IRS are so focused on rolling over states like New Jersey – and this is important — that they are willing to toss a number of those red states who taxpayers had been receiving a local or state tax benefit, under the bus,’ said Murphy, who accused Trump of abusing New Jersey taxpayers in order to settle a political score.