Resistance State: California in the Age of Trump
Between Sacramento and Washington D.C. sits the rest of the country, and a chasm. On immigration and taxes, guns and healthcare, cannabis and climate change, California is the federal government’s equal and opposite reaction. One year into President Trump’s first term, the push and pull continues—playing out under the Capitol dome, in the courts and on Twitter.
Ready for another year? Follow along here.
With hours left before the House and Senate are expected to vote on a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, Gov. Jerry Brown is rallying Californians to call on their Republican representatives to vote No on a “tax monstrosity.”
The Democratic governor posted a 1-minute message on Monday morning saying the plan will increase the national debt and gives tax breaks to corporations on the backs of states such as California that voted against President Trump. Statewide, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton received more than 4.2 million votes than Trump—a nearly two to one margin.
Here’s the full transcript:
Hi, I’m Governor Jerry Brown.
My message is real simple: The current tax bill in Congress is bad – it’s bad for you and it’s bad for America.
It’s never good to have one party vote one way and the other party vote 100 percent the other way – that’s dividing America at a time when we need unity.
Secondly, it’s going to increase our national debt by more than a trillion dollars. We’re going to have to pay for that for decades to come. It’s not economically healthy, it doesn’t make America strong.
You know what it really does, it gives massive tax breaks to corporations that are flush with billions and billions of dollars.And who’s going to pay for that? People who live in states that voted against Donald Trump. That’s not fair. That’s not treating America as one nation, indivisible, with liberty for all of us.
So please, call your Republican representative and tell them: “Vote no on this tax monstrosity.”
Call your GOP representative and tell them: Vote NO on this tax monstrosity. #GOPTaxScam https://t.co/dHvgx8QWCh
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield announced last week that members of Congress have agreed to a tax plan that will “deliver higher wages, lower taxes, a simpler system, and a stronger American economy” to President Trump by Christmas.
But the plan does hit wealthy, high-tax states such as California where many middle-class families face high housing costs and rely on deducting high amounts from their state and local taxes. Despite initial plans to eliminate the State And Local Tax (SALT) deduction, the final proposal imposes a $10,000 limit on any combination of state and local taxes, including income, property and sales taxes, that can be deducted by a household.
An analysis by the progressive D.C.-think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found the change would still impact more than 2 million high-earning households in California. That’s because the average deduction for state and local income taxes alone is nearly $16,000 per return.
Republicans are also lowering the deductible amount of interest paid on mortgage debt to $750,000, which the Brown administration has warned will make it harder to own a home in California. The limit under current law is $1 million.
California city officials have already criticized the bill, saying fewer deductions may force cities to cut back on police, fire, road repairs and other local public services.
“By limiting SALT, taxpayers will be faced with double taxation on hard earned incomes and cities may be forced to reduce services due to cut backs in resources,” said Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities. “With many California cities and residents yet to fully recover from the Great Recession, we’re disappointed that the conferees did not preserve the full SALT deduction.”
So far, only one of California’s 14 GOP House members says he’s voting against the bill because many of his constituents in the coastal communities north of San Diego will face higher tax bills under the plan. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, facing a tough re-election bid, instead took a swipe at state Democrats for “the tax factory in our State Capitol.”
I will be voting “no” on the final tax plan. The bill agreed to in conference makes some improvements, but the changes do not go far enough to guarantee tax relief for constituents in my district. https://t.co/9SnZdF8die
A day after Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to the Trump administration’s request to beef up the National Guard in states along the Mexico border, fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would not have made the same decision as governor.
But Newsom, who is the front-runner in the race to replace Brown as governor, put a large asterisk on his disagreement with Brown:
Brown announced Wednesday that he would accept federal funding to add 400 California National Guard members “to combat transnational crime.” But he laid out a long list of conditions in an agreement with federal authorities: The troops will not build a border wall or enforce immigration laws, and the arrangement is approved only until Sept. 30. Brown also specified that when it comes to the state’s National Guard, he is the “commander in chief.”
America’s Commander in Chief responded Thursday on Twitter: “Thank you Jerry, good move for the safety of our Country!”