PATERSON, NJ — If efforts in Washington to eliminate the state and local tax (SALT) deduction on personal income taxes are going to pass, they’ll have to go through Representative Bill Pascrell (NJ-9).

This was the message delivered by Pascrell who was joined by his House colleague Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) at a press conference held at Paterson Fire Headquarters on Friday.

According to Pascrell, a member of the House tax-writing Committee on Ways and Means the State and Local Tax Deduction represents nearly 9 percent of New Jersey Adjusted Gross Income. Its elimination will, Pascrell said, “put pressure on the state, on counties, and on cities like Paterson to either cut services or raise taxes to make up the difference.” 

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Flanked by first responders from across New Jersey Pascrell said that this change would also drastically affect the public safety of New Jersey by causing the elimination of vital services, and lead to “fewer cops on the beat. Fewer firefighters to respond to emergencies.”

“Eliminating this deduction will take the money for these services and send these dollars to South Carolina and Mississippi," said Gottheimer. "I'm prepared to support the right tax bill. But it must be the right tax reform. It must be bipartisan, it must cut taxes for New Jersey. It must be pro-business. It must be pro-police and pro-firefighters."

Eddie Donnelly, President, NJ FMBA, the union representing more than 5,000 firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers throughout New Jersey, praised Pascrell and Gottheimer for thinking of first responders as part of this debate. “Politicians love to have their photos taken with firefighters and police officers for their campaign mail, yet few will stand up and make sure we have the tools we need to do our jobs. That’s not how Bill and Josh operate. Whether it’s here in New Jersey, or in Washington D.C. these two leaders stand with us at all times."

“Not only would the elimination of these deductions damage our ability to do our jobs,” Donnelly added, “it would also, as with families all across the state, put our families under more financial strain.”

 Raising his voice to signal that he is ready for a fight Pascrell said that under this proposal services would be lost and lives would be put at risk. “We cannot let this happen," he shouted above to the approval of the firefighters and police officers that stood all around him.