Appeals court shoots down Cuomo’s attempt to overturn Trump’s SALT tax cap

In 2017, former President Donald Trump approved a tax reform law that limited federal deductions on state and local taxes, otherwise known as the SALT deductions cap. The law was immediately challenged at the time by disgraced, ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and several other Dems.

According to the New York Post, Trump scored yet another post-White House victory after a federal appeals court panel of judges rejected Cuomo’s lawsuit, upholding the former president’s SALT deduction cap. 

Cuomo was among several governors of states with higher taxes, as the SALT cap, given its $10,000 max deduction on state and local taxes, affects the wealthy in high-tax states like New York and New Jersey.

The SALT cap allowed the then-Republican-controlled Congress and the Trump administration increased revenues to fund other federal tax cuts.

The details

While some studies have shown that Trump’s tax cuts did, in fact, benefit residents of New York and other high-tax states, as the Post previously reported, it didn’t stop Democratic governors from attempting to overturn the law in the court system.

In fact, New York was joined in the legal fight by New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. Cuomo and his fellow Dem governors charged that the SALT cap was unconstitutional and served to undermine state law.

Experts at the time believed such a bid to overturn the law was a longshot, and as of Tuesday, it appears as if they were proven correct. This week, judges for the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in Manhattan ruled unanimously in a 3–0 decision that the SALT cap law be upheld.

“What really propels the plaintiffs’ view that Congress is constitutionally foreclosed from eliminating or curtailing the SALT deduction is their position that, until 2017, Congress had never done so. We disagree that the Constitution imposes such a constraint on Congress,” Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier said of the case.

The judge added: “They point us to nothing that compels the federal government to protect taxpayers from the true costs of paying their state and local taxes. We reject the Plaintiff States’ contention that the Constitution mandates the SALT deduction.”

Judges double down

Cuomo, and others who joined him in the lawsuit, repeated publicly that Trump and his Republicn allies enacted the law to punish Democrat-led states, an accusation with which the three-judge panel strongly disagreed.

“The Plaintiff States complain that Congress unfairly targeted them. Given our discussion of the statutory history, it is obviously true that members of Congress were aware that the SALT deduction cap would adversely affect some states more than others,” the judges wrote.

The judges added: “But the SALT deduction cap is not unlike the countless federal laws whose benefits and burdens are unevenly distributed across the country and among the several States,” adding that they ruled the SALT cap “is not coercive in violation of the Tenth Amendment or the principle of equal sovereignty.”

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