The journalists at CBS This Morning on Wednesday whined about the impact that the new Republican tax law will have on blue states, singling out New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California. Yet, incredibly, reporter Alex Wagner’s entire report managed to never mention that these states have the highest taxes in the country and are wildly in debt.
Wagner noted that the tax law will put a $10,000 cap on state and local deductions (known as S.A.L.T). On average, residents in New Jersey deduct around $18,000. Co-host John Dickerson explained that these four states have “the highest deduction claims.” Why might that be? He didn’t say. Wagner worried, “With a cap on SALT deductions, millions of Americans may end up seeing a tax increase.”
New York is the highest taxed state in the country. Connecticut is second. New Jersey is third and California is sixth. Wagner never mentioned these facts or placed blame at the feet of liberal politicians. Instead, she spun: “The Trump administration said states should give their own tax cuts instead of working around federal tax law. But for many of these states, slashing taxes is not an option.”
Wagner cited: " New Jersey, for example, is already more than $100 billion in debt."
The idea that these four states should burden their residents less with lower taxes and spending didn’t occur to anyone at CBS. Instead, Wagner blamed Trump: “It is not a coincidence that a lot of these states that may be hardest hit are blue coastal states that did not go to Donald Trump.”
Even the liberal New York Times in December managed to explain the context of high state and property taxes in the four states in question:
In particular, officials in the high-tax states object to the law’s $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, which were previously unlimited. That provision will be particularly painful for residents of states like New York, New Jersey, California and Connecticut, which have high housing costs and high tax rates.
But, Alex Wagner has never been an objective journalist. CBS hired her from MSNBC. There, she made pronouncements such as this: “Get rid of the Second Amendment.”
CBS was one of the networks to downplay early successes of the tax law, including the bonuses that several companies gave to employees.
A transcript of the segment can be found below by clicking “expand.”
CBS This Morning
7:42:19 to 7:45:33
JOHN DICKERSON: Some states are taking action against the new federal tax law to make sure as many Americans as possible receive benefits. The new tax law puts a $10,000 cap on state and local deductions. Previously there was no limit. Four states and Washington D.C. Has the highest deduction claims. Alex Wagner spoke with one family in New Jersey about the uncertainty. Good morning, Alex.
ALEX WAGNER: Good morning. Thirty percent of Americans itemize their deductions. But part of Republicans tax reform now limits the amount that can be deducted. That may mean higher taxes and a lot of confusion for some families.
DIANA KNIGHT: There's times where, you know, ye, we do feel like we are swimming upstream a little bit
WAGNER: Diana and Jeff Knight live in New Providence, New Jersey, with their three children. With major changes to the tax code including a new limit on state and local tax, or S.A.L.T. deductions, they worry about their long-term financial stability. .
JEFF KNIGHT: In some regards, we make less now than we made three years ago. When there's the potential for more money to be leaving your pocket, you know, obviously, that is going to raise concern for you.
WAGNER: The Knight's family deductions are about $18,000 near the New Jersey state average.
JEFF KNIGHT: The kids are getting bigger. We'd love to do an addition on the house because we need space.
DIANA KNIGHT: If we consider expanding on the house, that also means our property taxes would increase.
WAGNER: With a cap on SALT deductions, millions of Americans may end up seeing a tax increase and lawmakers are considering different ways to help them.
ANDREW CUOMO: New York will pay an additional $14 billion!
WAGNER: In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering revamping payroll taxes to help offset the burden on individual taxpayers. One plan would lower wages and employers would then pay the income difference to the state on the employee's behalf. A bill being proposed in California would allow taxpayers to make charitable donations to a specific fund in exchange for an 85 percent tax credit. Georgetown law professor Brian Galle said that option might work in Washington, D.C., where the annual average deduction claim is more than $16,000 a year.
BRIAN GALLE: If you would have been able to deduct $16,000 and the new federal cap only allows you to deduct ten, you would donate six.
WAGNER: The Trump administration said states should give their own tax cuts instead of working around federal tax law. But for many of these states, slashing taxes is not an option. New Jersey, for example, is already more than $100 billion in debt. For the moment, families like the Knights must wait. There's a contention that this is going to be a great thing for everybody.
DIANA KNIGHT: Hopefully it won't be too much of a hit and perhaps we could benefit. But down the line, I'm not so sure about that.
WAGNER: Part of California's proposal has been passed by the state senate and is awaiting a vote by the state assembly. And New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are planning to sue the federal government over the new cap. It is not a coincidence that a lot of these states that may be hardest hit are blue coastal states that did not go to Donald Trump.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Yeah. Really interesting. It's not over.
WAGNER: It is not over. A lot of development on the tax horizons.