Editor’s note: This article is part of a series on tax reform. Read another perspective here.
Why look a gift horse in the mouth?
I’m sure its teeth are fine. And if they’re not, well, that’s why there are large-animal vets. It’s a gift. It’s better than no horse at all.
That’s why I am all for the admittedly eccentric, end-around proposal in the California Legislature to allow our very high state income taxes to continue to be deducted from our incomes before we pay our fairly high federal income taxes each spring.
Californians got the shaft in the tax-reform plan just passed by Congress, as did residents of other states with high taxes that don’t go to the federal treasury. All of which just happen to be blue states, places unappreciated by the hostile White House and the legislative-branch majority in Washington, D.C.
Why should we be financially punished for living in California, or New York? And why don’t the Republican representatives — who, if they are in the minority in our big states, still have a say, in their districts and in negotiations across the aisle — stick up for us on this? Because it’s an idea floated by Dems? Who cares? I thought the GOP was supposed to have taxpayers’ backs.
The plan is simple. Californians who itemize on their returns — which is many of us, freelancers and the self-employed as well as the merely rich — would get to instead make our state and local taxes a charitable donation to the California Excellence Fund, a nonprofit that would allow us a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, just as we get under the current tax law.
This simple creation would take away the burden of the coming $10,000 cap on state and local deductions. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, you can’t logically support the new federal plan’s double-taxation on Californians, which conservatives are always — except, unaccountably, now, in weird, self-lacerating support of this president and this Congress…