Van Hollen leads unsuccessful first effort to preserve tax deduction popular in Maryland

and Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, failed Thursday to preserve a state and local tax deduction in the Republican plan to overhaul the tax code — the first effort to maintain a deduction that is heavily used by Marylanders.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul.

No Republicans supported the amendment.

Forty-five percent of Maryland filers took the deduction in 2014, the highest share in the country, according to the Tax Policy Center. Most of the states that would be most affected by ending the deduction — New York, California, Maryland — vote Democratic in national elections.

Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, and Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, sought to preserve the deduction with an amendment to the 2018 fiscal year budget resolution. Congress must pass the underlying budget resolution to proceed with their tax plan.

“This fight isn’t over — we will continue to work to protect the state and local tax deduction, which is integral to providing tax relief for working families in Maryland and across the country,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “I am sure many of my Republican colleagues will be hearing from constituents wondering why they voted to raises their taxes.”

While the deduction has benefited higher-tax states that lean Democratic, it does have some Republican support from GOP lawmakers within those states.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, recognizes that every tax provision “has an important constituency and consequence,” said his spokeswoman, Julia Lawless. Hatch plans to work with senators to “examine these provisions and make appropriate decisions.”

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