Typically people in elected office, just like anyone, don't want to look foolish. This is perhaps doubly true for image-conscious politicians.
So on Monday, Rep. Tom Suozzi was blunt in a video conference with reporters when describing the limb he's gone out on when it comes to getting a full repeal of the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions.
"If it doesn't happen I'm going to look like an idiot," he said.
And Suozzi's bet on the cap repeal as part of a proposed multi-trillion dollar domestic spending bill isn't just part of a policy debate over taxation and the impact of federal taxes in states like New York. Suozzi suggested in large part it's wrapped up in his future as a potential candidate for governor next year.
"I'd love to be the governor, but right now I'm really focused on getting SALT," he said. "If I don't get this done, it takes away a lot of my rationale."
Suozzi, a Long Island Democrat who last ran for governor in 2006 only to lose a Democratic primary to Eliot Spitzer, has tried unsuccessfully in the recent past to have the cap repealed. The provision, part of the 2017 tax overhaul, is seen as especially detrimental to high-tax states like New York.
Suozzi for the last several weeks has publicly linked his vote and the votes of fellow lawmakers to a repeal of the cap. Given the narrow divide in the House of Representatives, Suozzi's bloc of SALT votes could play a major role in the direction of the bill.
He's shrugged off questions before about running for governor, insisting it's important to give Gov. Kathy Hochul, elevated last month to the post, a chance to govern.
"Right now I've got to get this SALT deal," he said. "It's existential for the people of New York. People are moving away from their hometowns."