BREAKING NEWS : One man exonerated, a second charged with murder Full Story

A blue state revolt would be payback for the GOP

In the waning days of 2017, taxpayers in California, New York and other relatively high-tax states tried to storm the...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 11:19 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 11:19 AM

In the waning days of 2017, taxpayers in California, New York and other relatively high-tax states tried to storm the lifeboats of temporary taxpayer relief.

They knew that come January, the federal deduction for their local and state taxes would be capped at $10,000, and so, many people made prepayments in an effort to benefit under the old tax law. They also knew that red-state Republicans designed this change to siphon more dollars out of Democratic-voting parts of the country. That is, them.

As the tax bills made their way through Congress, Stephen Moore, an economist at the Heritage Foundation and former adviser to candidate Donald Trump, called the Republican tax law "death to Democrats."

Actually, it could be death to the Republican control of Congress, not to mention the careers of Republican politicians in the states being targeted. To reverse the outrage of the blatant blue-state tax, voters in these high-cost states must flip control of the House to Democrats. And they can do it.

The GOP majority in the House would be history if Republicans lost the more than two dozen seats it holds in the states under attack.

Among those most likely to be hit by tax increases under the new tax law are the middle- and upper-middle class homeowners who itemize their deductions and benefited from the ability to include an unlimited amount of state and local taxes. Many of these voters have been the backbone of Republican support in otherwise Democratic parts of the country.

"When my constituents who are very good with their numbers tell me that they are going to be [paying] $5,000 to $10,000 more in taxes, I'm supposed to represent their interests," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Republican from Southern California, unhappily said. (He voted against the bill.)

Here are the numbers: Democrats need to gain 24 seats in the 2018 midterm elections to take over the House. California and New York together send 23 Republicans to the House. Add in the 13 Republicans representing high-income blue states of New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland, and Democrats could have a shot at 37 Republican-held seats.

Beyond a cynical milking of blue states, capping the deduction for local and state taxes violates the doctrine of federalism, which conservatives say they hold dear.

Federalists promote the sharing of power among the federal government and state and local governments. But a tax law that makes it harder for states and localities to raise revenues depletes their ability to do anything. And it's a form of double taxation, forcing many Americans to pay federal taxes on income that was previously taxed by state and local governments.

On top of that, the federal income tax was already a blue-state tax. That's because the cost of living tends to be higher in Democratic-voting areas, many on the expensive coasts, and that is reflected in higher incomes.

But the tax code does not factor in the cost of living when setting marginal rates. All else being equal, a couple in Babylon on Long Island would have to make $111,000 a year to live as well as a couple earning $69,000 in Wheeling, West Virginia. But the New York couple would be taxed as richer people.

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, has complained that New York state sends far more in tax dollars to Washington than it receives in federal spending.

A study by New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that in the 2016 fiscal year, New York got 84 cents back for every dollar, the 47th worst showing in the nation. New Jersey ranks 50th. The study found that the average state receives $1.18 in spending for every tax dollar it sends to Washington. And that was before Congress decided to hike the taxes on many of Peter King's middle- and upper-middle class constituents.

Over many years, the blue states have largely swallowed this inequity. Though the situation is unfair, these states haven't turned indexing the federal tax rates for cost of living into a major cause. But the new tax law further burdening their voters compounds the existing inequity.

The median income in King's home county, Nassau County, is $102,000 a year. The average property tax in Nassau County exceeds $11,000. These high numbers help explain why more than half the taxpayers in Nassau County itemize their deductions.

So even though King and a number of blue-state Republicans voted against the tax law, their presence in Washington preserves the Republicans' House majority. They were clearly powerless to stop this travesty against their own voters.

Trump and his Republican allies err in thinking they can dismiss Democratic parts of the country without serious electoral repercussions. As president, Trump has yet to even visit California, the most populous state (and the world's sixth largest economy). That makes him the first president not to go there in his first calendar year in office since Dwight Eisenhower -- and Eisenhower visited California in his 13th month.

Although the state government is overwhelmingly Democratic, California still sends 14 Republicans to Congress. Many of their constituents vote Republican precisely to cut their taxes. Now look what's happening to them.

Underneath many of these voters' frenzied efforts to move future state and local tax payments into 2017 is the bitter knowledge that their taxes are actually being raised -- and by Republicans. That's one reason why Republicans may have hell to pay on November 6.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 152907

Reported Deaths: 4783
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27283615
Cuyahoga17603657
Hamilton13340321
Montgomery7993166
Lucas7377364
Butler6151112
Summit5393252
Warren313649
Mahoning3114282
Marion311447
Stark2946175
Pickaway268445
Lorain234286
Delaware232821
Fairfield214654
Licking196063
Columbiana195180
Wood194273
Trumbull1921132
Clark185341
Clermont176123
Lake166051
Greene153634
Medina149339
Miami147652
Allen147372
Portage117766
Mercer113919
Erie96047
Tuscarawas94320
Wayne94268
Richland94119
Ross90426
Madison85512
Darke81144
Athens7402
Geauga73349
Hancock73110
Belmont72427
Lawrence68622
Shelby66910
Ashtabula66248
Auglaize62511
Putnam62523
Sandusky58720
Huron5727
Union5512
Scioto5287
Seneca49514
Ottawa47230
Muskingum4553
Preble44716
Holmes3999
Jefferson3424
Henry33715
Defiance33212
Champaign3143
Logan3143
Clinton30512
Perry3039
Fulton2991
Brown2923
Knox28915
Jackson2667
Washington26323
Morrow2622
Hardin25713
Ashland2484
Crawford2486
Coshocton23511
Fayette2346
Highland2313
Williams2163
Wyandot21512
Pike2040
Gallia19713
Meigs17711
Guernsey1748
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1374
Van Wert1283
Paulding1130
Monroe11018
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton483
Noble350
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 50°
Angola
Few Clouds
46° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Huntington
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Decatur
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Van Wert
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
More Showers Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events