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POLITICS: PennAve

Paul Ryan: Limit home mortgage deduction to the middle class

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Rep. Paul Ryan said in an interview on Monday that he favors limiting the home mortgage tax deduction to “middle income people” but opposes curbing deductions for contributions to charity.

The Wisconsin Republican’s remarks are significant because he is in line to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congress’ chief tax writing panel.

Ryan, also a possible 2016 presidential candidate, has long been a fan of overhauling the tax code, and he could be in a position to lead such an effort beginning in January, when he is expected to assume the helm of Ways and Means.

Finishing up his final term as House Budget Committee chairman, Ryan also expressed a desire to eliminate individual taxpayers' ability to deduct from their federal income taxes what they pay in state income taxes, a provision that benefits residents of higher-tax blue states like California and New York.

Here is what Ryan told California-based conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, a Washington Examiner columnist, when he was asked how he would handle the home mortgage tax deduction and other popular tax write-offs:

“I would limit the home mortgage so that it’s for middle income people. I would not limit the charitable, because I very strongly believe in a vibrant civil society, and I do believe that that’s really the only open-ended tax expenditure I think that there ought to be, because you do not want to suffocate and choke off private civil society, because then government is invited to take even more of that space away from us. So I do believe for charities and churches, that that should still be there. And as, look, no offense, I know you’re a Californian, but why should we in Wisconsin whose government is cleaning up its act, balancing its budget, not having a pension problem, pay higher taxes for your dysfunctional government.”

Regarding the deduction for state income taxes, Ryan added this:

“Look, give us, I’d rather have everybody have lower tax rates as a result, but by getting rid of that particular deduction. And then you know what, if you don’t like your state tax, go to Sacramento and go to Madison. Go complain to your governor or your state representative, but don’t make people from states that have got their fiscal house in order pay for the states that don’t. Why should Wisconsin pay for Illinois?”

In an interview with the Washington Examiner in July, Ryan discussed his priorities for tax reform in the next Congress and said he would decide at some point next summer whether to run for president in 2016.

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Author:

David M. Drucker

Senior Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

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