Zeldin Votes Against Tax Bill

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin
U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Congressman Lee Zeldin made good on his pledge to vote against the Republican-sponsored tax bill, which was passed by the House on Tuesday. Congress passed the final tax bill on Wednesday afternoon with party-line votes in both the House and the Senate.

Late last week, Mr. Zeldin said he remained opposed to the tax bill despite changes to it. “Getting this bill done and getting this bill done right should not have been a binary choice,” he said in a release. “My goal in this tax reform mission has always been to ensure that the hard-working men and women of Long Island keep more of their paycheck, reduce their cost of living, and are able to save more for retirement. Unfortunately, this bill is not the tax relief they were promised.”

Mr. Zeldin said he likes many aspects of the final version of the bill that was put forth by a conference committee, including the expansion of the medical expense deduction, preservation of education and student deductions, and corporate tax cuts he said would spur job creation.

“Reducing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, for example, is great, but it should not be done on the backs of any hard-working, middle-income taxpayers,” he said. “I still don’t understand why spending cuts couldn’t have been used as a more responsible pay for.”

Mr. Zeldin criticized the bill as a “geographic redistribution of wealth, taking extra money from a place like New York to pay for deeper tax cuts elsewhere. New York is a net contributor that now will be contributing even more. This bill chooses winners and losers in a way that could have and should have been avoided.”

While Mr. Zeldin said he had hoped the state and local tax deduction would have been fully restored, he added that a reason New Yorkers’ have such a high deduction is because their state taxes are high.

“I wish I could get to a ‘yes’ on this bill, but when it comes to my district and my state, this proposal leaves too many of them out in the cold,” he said. “There was a massive missed opportunity here to fix this bill for millions of Americans who also desperately needed tax relief and ended up getting screwed by the handicap of rigid ideological blinders.”