In one of the most important votes of the year, Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) joined with fellow Republicans to pass a deeply unpopular tax scam that most Americans oppose.
There is no doubt that the tax bill is a bad deal for Californians, as it would “ultimately raise Californians’ personal income taxes.”
Economists say the bill amounts to “intergenerational class warfare,” with disproportionate benefits going to yacht owners and the children of the ultra-wealthy. Ivanka Trump and her siblings alone stand to gain some $4 billion, thanks to repeal of the estate tax.
Sadly, California will take the brunt of the damage if this bill becomes law. “California would be the hardest hit of all, with its taxpayers kicking a cumulative $12.1 billion in additional taxes into the federal kitty in 2027, the institute’s [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy] analysis found.”
Knight abandoning his constituents comes as a surprise, as he previously seemed to commit to opposing measures that would harm his district.
When Republicans pushed through their most recent budget bill, opponents were already concerned that a bad tax bill would be the result: “At the root of their objection is the potential repeal of the federal deduction for state and local taxes, which would hit especially hard in wealthier states like New York and California.”
But Knight assured constituents that he was on their side. He asked constituents to trust him. According to the L.A. Times:
Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale said he voted for the budget because he’s been assured that a fix will be made to the tax plan that will address or offset the potential tax increase caused by the elimination of the tax deduction.
“Still worried about it, still working on it,” Knight said after the vote. “I am confident [it will be fixed], but I’ve also said that is my No. 1 priority, so if we can’t get it fixed then we’re going to have problems.”
Yet a bill came for a vote without adequate fixes. Despite Knight’s promises, the negative impacts of the tax bill would leave Californians with “an immediate, chilling effect on property values across the state.”
Knight even ignored the Los Angeles Area County Chamber of Commerce, which sent a letter to every member of Congress in the area saying that this tax bill would, “damage the economy of California, our taxpayers and our prospects for future growth.”
Knight had the choice to stand by his word, where he strongly implied he would vote no, or break trust with constituents.
It should not have been a difficult decision. A majority of his district (51%) thought the tax bill was so bad that they said they would be less likely to vote for Knight if he supported it.
Rather than stand up for his constituents like he promised, Knight kowtowed to the whims of Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan.
No wonder Knight has only a 33 percent approval rating in his district. When a bill came before Congress that he knew would be problematic, he ignored the voices of Californians.
And now, constituents might pay a high price for trusting in the promise of Rep. Steve Knight.