In a stunning rebuke of his California colleagues, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa penned an article in The Orange County Register laying out the basis for voting against the GOP House tax bill. Issa was one of only three California Republicans to oppose the bill, joining the state’s entire Democratic delegation.
Issa opposed the bill on the grounds that, “my constituents don’t deserve a tax increase.”
Eleven of California’s Republicans, including Palmdale’s Rep. Steve Knight, voted for the bill.
In explaining his reasoning, Issa lays out how the bill, which was rammed through the House with only Republican support, hurts Californians. At issue is the reduction of the state and local tax (SALT) exemption.
Under current law, Californians are able to deduct the full amount of their state and local taxes from their federal taxes. Under the Republican plan endorsed by Knight, a cap is placed on how much individuals or families could deduct.
As Issa points out, “Eliminating the state and local tax deduction would assure that almost all of the bill’s tax cuts would be distributed to other states — leaving California with the bill.”
About six million Californians take advantage of the state and local tax deduction. In Knight’s district, the average SALT deduction was more than $16,500, according to a 2015 study.
Even knowing these facts, and knowing the bill was opposed by a majority of the people in his district, Knight cast one of the deciding votes in favor of the legislation.
As previously reported, Knight’s support came as a surprise to many. Knight pledged to his constituents that taking care of the state and local taxes issue in early discussion about the bill was his “number one priority.” Yet when a bill came forward without a fix, he abandoned that pledge and supported a bill that would hurt his constituents.
It is not only Republicans in Congress that are pointing out the harmful vote of Knight. Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California did not hold back her disappointment in a recent statement:
Last week, California Republicans betrayed their constituents and their state to hand Speaker Ryan the votes for a bill designed to hit Californians with the largest net tax hikes of any state in the nation. Instead of insisting on a bill that doesn’t raise taxes on their constituents, California Republicans voted to dismantle the state and local tax deduction relied on by tens of thousands of families in every one of their districts.
Pelosi ended her statement with a reminder that California Republicans cast the decisive votes ensuring this bill passed the House of Representatives, noting, “Remember, it was the California Republicans’ votes that made the difference in passing the Republican tax scam. If all the Californian Republicans had voted against the bill, it would have failed.”
In opposing the tax bill, Issa said, “We can do better than this.”
After Knight supported the bill, residents in his district may head into 2018 thinking the same thing: We can do better than this.