Lisa Mandelblatt, a Democratic Congressional candidate for New Jersey’s Seventh District, said today she supports an innovative property tax deduction plan proposed by New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer.

Working with the congressman, the communities of Paramus, Park Ridge and Fair Lawn in North Jersey announced last week that they planned to allow residents to donate the same sum as their property taxes to a charitable trust created by the municipalities.

Taxpayers would then receive a tax deduction for the donation, saving many New Jersey residents thousands of dollars that they will otherwise have to pay because of changes in a Republican tax overhaul signed into law by President Trump that limits state and local tax deductions to $10,000.

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But questions have been raised about whether the Internal Revenue Service would allow individuals to deduct the donations to the charitable trust on their income tax returns. On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the idea “ridiculous.”

“From a Treasury standpoint and IRS, I don’t want to speculate on what people will do, but I think it’s one of the more ridiculous comments to think you can take a real estate tax that you are required to make and dress that up as a charitable contribution,” Mnuchin said.

Mandelblatt said a simple change in federal law would make it clear the donations are tax deductible.

“I applaud Congressman Gottheimer and the municipal officials in the three towns for putting taxpayers first and their innovative approach that could potentially help all New Jersey homeowners, particularly those in the Seventh District,” Mandelblatt said. 

“As a congresswoman representing the Seventh District, I will work with my colleagues to pass legislation making these types of donations in lieu of property tax payments tax deductible,” Mandelblatt said. “Residents of the Seventh Congressional District, who send more money to Washington than we get in return, deserve a tax break, too.”

“I have consistently and at every opportunity stated my opposition to the GOP tax scam and repeatedly pointed out how ineffective Congressman Lance has been at influencing the GOP leadership to change the legislation so it doesn’t crush New Jersey residents,” Mandelblatt said. “Unlike Congressman Lance, I will always put the District first over politics.”

Mandelblatt, a lifelong resident of the district, a community leader and a working mom, is leading the pack of Democratic candidates, raising more than $640,000 since she launched her campaign last year.