Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers Thursday that the Republican tax law affected his personal tax rate in 2018. “I personally pay taxes in New York and California and my tax rate did go up because I no longer have the SALT deduction,” he told the House Ways and Means Committee.
Mnuchin later clarified his statement, saying that he was referring to his combined federal and state tax rates and that he didn’t know if his federal tax rate had decreased.
Mnuchin also touched upon these issues:
* Debt ceiling: Mnuchin said that Congress should raise the debt ceiling soon and pass legislation that raises the ceiling whenever additional spending is approved. “My own opinion is that when we approve spending, we should approve raising the debt ceiling,” Mr. Mnuchin said. Asked if the debt ceiling should be eliminated entirely, Mnuchin replied, “So I’m not sure we need to get rid of it, but like any other business, when you approve spending you have a plan [for] how to finance that spending.”
* IRS penalties: Asked about taxpayers who under-withheld on their taxes in 2018, Mnuchin said he would review a request to lower the penalty to 80 percent this year, down from already-reduced 85 percent rate announced by the IRS in January.
* The “post card” 1040: Mnuchin said the new basic tax form has not caused problems – despite what The New York Times’ Alan Rappeport said was “a 200% increase in errors on filings.”
* Self-funding tax cuts: Mnuchin repeated the oft-disputed claim that the tax cuts will not increase the debt: “If we do get the growth we expect, they will pay for themselves.”
* Wheels: Mnuchin told lawmakers he owns a Tesla.