MacArthur argues tax bill will help NJ residents

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

Rep. Tom MacArthur is the only New Jersey congressman or senator who supports the GOP tax reform effort.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy and Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker have been railing against the House and Senate versions of the tax reform bill and did so again at a news conference Monday.

MacArthur says they are dead wrong.

“The latest from Sens. Booker and Menendez and the governor-elect just demonstrates to me they’ve getting caught up in partisan talking points instead of really looking at the bill. I have looked at this bill six ways from Sunday. I know how it operates, I know where the cuts are and this is good for our state. It’s doubling the standard deduction, and most people, that’s what they take. And this is doubling it for a family from $12,000 to $24,0000,” he said.

Of the five Republicans in the New Jersey delegation, only MacArthur voted for the House bill. The biggest concern among New Jersey politicians is that New Jersey homeowners may no longer be able to deduct their property taxes. The Senate version eliminates that deduction entirely. The House version caps it at $10,000.

Democrats and many Republicans fear the impact of either.

“It’s an awful bill. It may be the ninth inning, but you’ve got three eternal optimists here. We’re fighting like heck,” said Murphy.

“This is a bad bill for New Jersey. I think it’s a bad bill for America,” said Menendez.

“If you are voting for this bill, you are voting against New Jersey and you should be thrown out of office,” said Booker.

“When other people are having press conferences and issuing press releases and bloviating in some cases, I actually went out and negotiated the $10,000 restoration of our deductions. That was eliminated in the original House bill. The average tax bill in my district is about $6,300, so this is certainly enough. The average tax bill in New Jersey is $8,400, well under the $10,000 cap. And that is thousands of dollars into every New Jersey family that owns a home, into their pocket,” said MacArthur.

MacArthur says the bill would cut taxes for businesses in New Jersey, and that’s a plus. Doubling the standard deduction would offset the loss of some other deductions, he said. He says he’s the only one who’s rolled up his sleeves and worked to improve the bill.

“They keep sniping instead of being productive,” continued MacArthur.

Booker says the GOP bills are a threat to New Jersey.

“I don’t understand how he can support a bill that he knows would economically devastate tens of thousands of New Jersey families,” said Booker.

MacArthur invited the three Democrats to his district to debate him on the bills.

“I’m not going to let them just peddle a bunch of nonsense and do fear mongering that makes people in our state feel like they’re going to lose, when in fact they’re going to gain,” said MacArthur.

So up is down and black is white in the tax reform debate. It’s difficult to know which side is right.