Frankly Speaking: Gottheimer’s SALT Sham

October 5, 2019

Josh Gottheimer’s song and dance is a familiar one: high tax states like New Jersey were unfairly penalized by the Republicans’ 2017 tax overhaul that capped residents’ ability to deduct their state and local taxes.

Don’t get me wrong: this was the one part of the legislation with which I didn’t fully agree. The other provisions, however, have been a boon to our national economy. Coming from the business community, I understand the competitive disadvantage our American companies faced with a high corporate tax rate, and I thought middle class families deserved more money in their pockets.

When it came to SALT, though, many of us in the 5th Congressional district of New Jersey – me included – came up short.

And our representatives are duty-bound to go to Washington and help get back some of our hard-earned money. The problem with Josh is that while he talks a big game on SALT, nearly two years to the date of the landmark tax legislation, he has very little – if anything – to show for it.First, Josh fails to strike at the heart of the issue with members of his own party. The reason why SALT was like salt in the wound for New Jerseyans is because we were overtaxed to begin with.

Our property taxes are the highest in the country, and Governor Phil Murphy and other state Democrats, who work to serve special interests as opposed to the voters, have little interest in making our state a more affordable place to live. For the leader of the so-called “Problem Solvers Caucus,” this would be a natural place for Josh to start. And yet, for all his press conferences, we never once hear of Josh going to Trenton to demand action – or even discuss a solution. Middle class families are being priced out of New Jersey, and in failing to stand up to his Democratic colleagues – and Josh Gottheimer is complicit in our decline.

Second, his stunt in suing the federal government to use a charitable giving scheme to evade the new SALT provisions disguises the fact that he has no real plan for compromise.

Instead of antagonizing the Trump Administration with a lawsuit, or standing behind a baseless impeachment inquiry, Josh should be reaching across the aisle and attempting to work with Republicans, including the President, to fight for our state. How do we expect to have a seat at the table in Washington when it comes to petitioning for other important projects, like the Gateway Project, if we’re chasing a folly in federal court?

I’m all for fighting the good fight, but we need to fight smart. Josh’s theater antics may make for good press releases, talking points and scripted diner stops, but they ultimately hamper our efforts for true compromise and solutions for our district.

Leadership is equal parts listening, evaluation and action. When you choose to lead by focusing solely on ego for your own personal gain, you will ultimately fail. Whether it’s in the public or private sector, a successful leader focuses on one thing: that which is in the best interest of your shareholders, your employees – or your constituents.

Remember Josh, while you are currently the face of the 5th District, you still work for the people.

Act like it.