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New York, New Jersey, Connecticut form coalition against tax bill

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The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said on Friday they are forming a multi-state coalition against a new federal tax bill and will file legal action challenging the constitutionality of the legislation signed in December.

The bill unfairly impacts their states with its repeal of state and local tax deductibility, the first federal double taxation in U.S. history, the governors said during a call with reporters.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said there were “very strong” arguments that the bill violates states’ rights as well as the Equal Protection clause in the U.S. Constitution.

“The top 12 states that get hurt (by the bill) coincidentally all happen to be Democratic states,” he said.

The sweeping Republican tax bill signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump introduces a cap, of $10,000, on deductions of state and local income and property taxes, known as SALT. The tax overhaul was the party’s first major legislative victory since Trump took office in January 2017.

The SALT provision will hit many taxpayers in states with high incomes, property values and taxes. These include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California, which are all generally Democratic leaning.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat sworn in earlier this month, said the states’ lawsuit against the bill could be filed in a “matter of a couple weeks.”

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“We believe substantively there is a very strong case and the more like-minded states who join us I think the better our shot,” Murphy said.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said the state, along with New Jersey and New York, is in conversations “offline” with other states about potential actions against the bill. Cuomo mentioned he had spoken with California Governor Jerry Brown.

Other states are also mulling options to deal with the impact of the federal bill. Legislation that first surfaced in California, that gives taxpayers a way to avoid the new cap on state and local tax deductions by making charitable donations, has emerged in four more states so far.

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(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Daniel Bases and Bernadette Baum)


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Trump begs Louisiana for a ‘big win’ after his last-minute rally in Kentucky backfired

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At his last-ditch rally in Louisiana to help the struggling gubernatorial candidacy of GOP businessman Eddie Rispone, President Donald Trump boasted — incorrectly — that his rally in Kentucky narrowed the gap for Gov. Matt Bevin, who lost the race, by 19 points. He then begged voters to give Rispone a "big win."

"We elected everybody," said Trump. "The governor got brought up, in a few short days, 19 points. I went, we made a speech, the whole ticket was there, everybody won big. Governor's a really good guy. But 19 points is a big thing, and he lost by just a few thousand votes. And the headlines next day, Trump took a loss — I lifted him up a lot. But Trump took a loss. So you gotta give me a big win, please, okay? Okay?"

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Republicans are treating voters like ‘children’ with their defense of Trump: Ex-presidential adviser

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," former presidential adviser David Gergen laid into Republican lawmakers for claiming that the impeachment probe is only based on "hearsay."

"The Republicans are treating us like idiots," said Gergen. "They just — they say you're only bringing forth hearsay. You don't have any firsthand information. We know there are three people who know exactly what happened. One is named [Rudy] Giuliani. One is chief of staff [Mick] Mulvaney and the third is [John] Bolton. And what's happened here? They all three have been called. The president said no, you must not talk. So the Republicans then come up and say, well, you only have hearsay."

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Roger Stone’s health in question as prosecutors have him ‘dead to rights’: NBC reporter

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Jurors deciding the fate of longtime Donald Trump political advisor Roger Stone did not reach a verdict during their deliberations on Thursday and will reconvene on Friday morning.

But there were fascinating details from the courtroom revealed by NBC News correspondent Ken Dilanian.

"What about Roger Stone, does he look like he’s about to burn here?" MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews asked. "Does he look like he’s going down?"

"He does," Dilanian replied.

"And also, physically, he doesn't look well at this trial. He’s walking around the courthouse kind of unaccompanied, shambling around," he continued. "He doesn't look like a happy warrior, which is usually his persona."

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