From the NY Times:
The tax bill approved by the Senate is many things, offering a huge tax cut for corporations, lower rates for the wealthy, and a big victory for Republicans and the White House.
It is also an economic dagger aimed at high-tax, high-cost and generally Democratic-leaning areas — most notably New York City and its neighbors.
The bill, if enacted into law, could send home prices tumbling 10 percent or more in parts of the New York area, according to one economic analysis. It could increase the regional tax burden, complicating companies’ efforts to attract skilled workers. It could make it harder for state and local governments to pay for upgrades to the transit system and other infrastructure. And it could force cuts in federal programs that help immigrants, the elderly and other low-income residents afford the region’s high cost of living.
Most significantly, the bill would eliminate the deduction for state and local income taxes, and would cap the deduction for property taxes at $10,000.
That wouldn’t matter to the more than two-thirds of households nationwide that take the standard deduction, which would be nearly doubled under the bill. But in the New York area, high state and local taxes change the equation. In Manhattan and wealthy suburban counties, close to half of households itemize their deductions, and many could see an immediate tax increase.
“We’re worried and we’re wondering what are we going to tell our kids,” said Cynthia Metcalf, who lives with her husband and the youngest of their four children in Mount Kisco, an affluent commuter town. “I just feel like it’s an attack deliberately set against people from the Northeast or from other blue states.”
Ms. Metcalf, who teaches history at Westchester Community College, said she had tried to use TurboTax software to estimate how their tax returns would be affected. Currently, they can deduct the more than $20,000 a year they pay in school and town taxes, and the 7 percent of their income that goes to state taxes. Losing those deductions means the family could wind up paying considerably more, Ms. Metcalf said.
That prospect has the Metcalfs rethinking their financial future. Ms. Metcalf said she dreaded the prospect of telling her youngest child, Genevieve, a high school senior, that the college of her choice was beyond their means. And she said she and her husband might have to accelerate plans to relocate once all their children have left home. Then again, she added, selling their home could become more difficult.
“Now I’m starting to think, who’s going to want to buy our house here in New York?” Ms. Metcalf said. “The whole game has shifted.”
The most immediate threat could be to the region’s housing market. The tax bill would eliminate or make less valuable the tax breaks that encourage homeownership. That would probably have a minor impact on home prices nationally, but potentially a big one in the New York area, with its expensive homes and high property taxes.
An analysis of the Senate bill by Moody’s Analytics concluded that home prices in Manhattan could fall nearly 10 percent in the coming years because of the bill. Some New York and New Jersey suburbs could be even more vulnerable because property-tax rates are higher there and prices are still recovering from the bursting of the housing bubble.