Rep. Mast introduces bill that would eliminate state and local tax deduction

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced a bill that would reduce federal spending by $480 billion, which is the amount of the proposed debt ceiling increase.

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Mast introduced a bill on Oct. 12 he calls the Banana Stand Money Act, H.R. 5565, which would fully repeal the state and local tax (SALT) deduction and recall unused funds from the American Rescue Plan. By eliminating the tax deductions and rescinding money that has still not been spent related to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government would cut spending instead of increasing its credit limit.

“As the saying goes, ‘there’s always money in the banana stand.’ There are plenty of opportunities for savings within the bloated budget of the federal government, and Congress needs to get serious about getting our spending under control, instead of just upping the national credit card’s limit every time,” Mast said. “It’s past time for a serious wakeup call and real efforts to cut spending.”

The SALT deduction favors wealthy residents, who would see an average tax savings of $154,000 in comparison to the middle 60 percent of earners who would save just $37, according to the Brookings Institution. Further, Mast said billions of dollars appropriated by the American Rescue Plan remain unspent, even though it’s not required to be spent until 2026. However, Mast said the legislation was intended to be an emergency measure to address an immediate public health crisis. As of October, states had spent, on average, only 2.5 percent of the federal dollars afforded to them under the bill, and large cities had spent just 8.5 percent.