Our Pledge To You

News

Pritzker makes DC debut as governor; joins with Cuomo to protest Trump tax hit

from left, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont; Oregon Gov. Kate Brown; Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker; New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at press conference to restore the "SALT" tax break Photo by Lynn Sweet.

WASHINGTON – Gov. J. B. Pritzker is making his national debut as a governor this weekend at the National Governors Association winter meeting, joining with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday to protest Trump tax policies stinging mainly Democratic states.

At issue is what is nicknamed the “SALT” (state and local taxes) provision in the Trump tax bill Republicans pushed through Congress in 2017 that placed a $10,000 cap on federal income taxes deductions for state and local taxes. In states like Illinois and New York, with higher state and property taxes, the SALT cap could outweigh other breaks in the tax bill.

Cuomo organized the “Governors Coalition for Tax Fairness,” with five Democratic governors on Friday kicking off a lobbying drive to lift the SALT cap. The new Democratic run House has the votes to restore or revise the SALT cap; the GOP controlled Senate is likely to resist, because the added revenues were needed to finance what Cuomo and other Democrats call a “tax cut for the rich.”

“The states that have state and local taxes tend to be Democratic states. I’m sure that was a coincidence,” Cuomo said with muted sarcasm. He added the “politically motivated” SALT cap “was a declaration of civil war between Democratic states and Republican states.”

Pritzker said the SALT cap could impact some two million Illinoisans “in a very negative way.” Almost every Illinois Democrat in Congress is protesting the loss of a full SALT deduction on federal income taxes.

That Pritzker, a Democrat, is at the NGA weeks after becoming governor is already one stark contrast with Republican former Gov. Bruce Rauner, who barely had anything to do with other governors, dealing with Congress or the Trump White House.

When it comes to the Trump administration, it will be about developing a pragmatic balance for Pritzker, who railed against President Donald Trump during his campaign for Illinois governor.

Pritzker, met with Trump and other governors at the White House after he was elected but before he was sworn-in last month.

On Thursday, Trump tapped Pritzker to be on the 10-member bipartisan Council of Governors, which advises the president on homeland security, disaster response, the National Guard and related defense matters. Pritzker told the Sun-Times he did not seek the appointment.

The council met in an orientation session on Friday, which Pritzker attended. The governor, however, skipped a luncheon for governors at Vice President Mike Pence’s residence.

UPDATED Pritzker cancelled plans to attend the “Governors’ Ball” hosted by Trump and first lady Melania at the White House on Sunday, instead making calls to address the flooding threat in southern Illinois.