Embatled Darrell Issa First California Republican to Oppose Tax Reform Bill

Darrell Issa
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said Tuesday that he will not support the current version of the Republican congressional leadership’s tax reform plan, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.

Issa provided some insight into what part of the plan he opposed in a statement, pointing out the elimination of the federal State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction:

[M]y overriding concern with the current House tax reform proposal is that many Californians who need and deserve tax relief won’t benefit from the current framework, or at worse, may see their tax burden rise as a consequence of certain changes including, but not limited to, the elimination of the state and local income tax deduction.

The California congressman barely held on to his Southern California seat in 2016 against a Democrat challenger in a red district, winning just 50.3 percent of the vote. Democrats aggressively targeted the district, pouring money into the race for their team.

According to the California Secretary of State’s website, Issa’s district went slightly for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the same election, 50.7 to 43.2, respectively. With the 2018 midterms  just around the corner, Issa’s re-election remains an unknown.

“Tax reform should lower taxes for all taxpayers – regardless of where they live,” said Issa, who vowed to lobby for changes in the Republican tax reform plan. “I will continue fighting for improvements to this bill that all California taxpayers and small businesses can embrace.”

San Francisco’s Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority Leader, has slammed the 14 Republican representatives from California for backing the GOP budget, which paved the way for the proposed tax reforms. Governor Jerry Brown, too, has urge them to oppose the bill.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pushed back against Pelosi’s assertion at the recent California GOP convention, “I don’t think it’s fair that somebody else subsidize poor management of California or New York policies. … No longer can Sacramento say, I’m gonna raise the rates, just cause I’ll have the federal government subsidize it,” he said.

Issa appeared to share McCarthy’s position just a few days ago when he issued a response to Gov. Brown’s repudiation of the Republican tax bill. He stated that the role of the state and local tax deduction for the state’s taxpayers “has only become of such importance as a direct result of the tremendous weight that your misguided policies have put on California taxpayers,” according to the Fresno Bee.

California taxpayers fork over approximately $300 billion in taxes to their state each year, approximately $100 billion of which is claimed as deductions on those taxpayers’ federal tax returns, according to the Bee. Those taxpayers end up saving a collective $20 billion.

As the Bee report indicates, politicians and pundits have beens speculating that the SALT change could cause taxpayers in high-tax states to move their domiciles to states with more favorable state and local tax rates. Whether that would push some state legislators to change their tax-and-spend ways remains in question.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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