Democrats Are Arguing for Constitutional Right to a Tax Deduction. Here’s Why It’ll Fail.

The Daily Signal | 2/13/2018 | Staff
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Alden Abbott is deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow. Read his research.

Amy Swearer is a visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Gil - Gatch - Member - Young - Leaders

Gil Gatch is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

On Feb. 1, Maryland’s attorney general signaled his state will join with the coalition of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, whose Democratic governors have announced their intent to sue the federal government over a provision in the Republican tax bill, which they claim unconstitutionally targets blue states.

Tax - Cuts - Jobs - Act - Deductions

The recently passed 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act limits deductions of state and local taxes (SALT deductions) to $10,000. These deductions, which were previously unlimited, are enjoyed only by taxpayers who itemize their deductions—predominantly high-income taxpayers whose state and local tax amounts exceed the value of the standard deduction.

As many tax policy analysts and legal scholars have noted, the odds of success for such a lawsuit are incredibly low. But winning may not be their end goal—Democrats need to rouse their base by finding some way of opposing Republican legislation, even if that legislation will greatly benefit the majority of Americans.

Democrats - Plan - Momentum - Act - States

Incredibly, the Democrats know that for this plan to gain momentum, they must argue that the Act restricts states’ rights. That’s correct—Democrats are now championing states’ rights.

Unfortunately, their constitutional arguments are misguided and would defend hundred-billion-dollar tax breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers in high-tax states.

Conservatives - Defenders - Federalism - Form - Organization

Conservatives are traditionally staunch defenders of American federalism, a form of political organization in which power is shared between state governments and the central (“federal”) government, and each government is sovereign in its sphere of power.

The Constitution grants specific, limited powers to the federal government, and the 10th...
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