In the midst of the tax reform debate taking place on Capitol Hill, many who live in high-tax states such as New York, Illinois, New Jersey and California do not like one of the proposals that would eliminate the state and local tax deductions. Those states, along with Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts, receive more than 50 percent of the value of the deduction on federal income tax returns for state and local taxes; according to the Daily Signal. Eleven of thirty-five Republicans who represent these high-tax states in the House of Representatives voted against the Budget Resolution designed to clear the way for tax reform, citing their concerns over the abolition of state and local tax deductions as part of the tax reform package. The resolution still managed to pass the House in spite of their objections. Those in favor of abolishing the state and local tax deductions argue that the deductions encourage state and local governments to tax at higher levels. When people in high-tax states itemize their deductions, individuals in lower-tax states have to pick up the tab. It looks like leaders on Capitol Hill have agreed to a compromise where the GOP’s tax reform proposal will keep property tax deductions but eliminate the state and local tax deductions.
To reiterate a phrase made popular by President Obama, “Elections have consequences.” People in high-tax states continue to elect Democratic legislatures over Republican legislatures who would likely cut taxes if they ever had a chance to win in those deep-blue states. Many people who grew tired of paying such high taxes have decided to flee to lower-tax states such as Florida and Texas. These states continue to gain representation in Congress as a result of rapid population growth while states like Illinois and New York continue to lose seats in the House of Representatives. You would think the governments of those states would have gotten the message by now.
Due to their obsession with the President’s tweets, the media has had little time to discuss a case before the Supreme Court: Gill v. Whitford. The plaintiff in the case argues that the Wisconsin legislature unfairly drew the state legislative districts to benefit Republicans. In my opinion, the Democrats make it too easy. Many of them live in closely clustered urban areas while Republicans generally choose to spread out. The Supreme Court will issue a ruling on Gill v. Whitford next year. The ruling could significantly impact how Congressional and state legislative districts are drawn in the future. The Courts have already looked unfavorably on racial gerrymandering but have not really weighed in on partisan gerrymandering. Florida, Virginia and North Carolina had to redraw their United States Congressional Districts ahead of last year’s elections after Courts found that their legislatures unconstitutionally drew some of the districts using race as a factor. Democrats picked up three House seats as a result of the new maps that they might not have picked up otherwise; these pickups accounted for half of their net gain in the 2016 House elections.
While the media wants people to believe that only Republicans gerrymander, the Congressional map in Maryland tells a different story. In 2012, the Democrats redrew Maryland’s 6th Congressional District; which had previously included reliably Republican counties in the western and northern part of the state. The new district included heavily Democratic areas in the Washington, D.C. metro area, while transferring the more conservative areas in the northern part of the state into the already reliably Democratic 8th District. This partisan gerrymandering allowed Rep. John Delaney to unseat the ten-term Republican incumbent. Delaney will vacate his seat next year to begin a long shot bid to unseat President Trump in 2020.
If voters in high tax states want lower taxes, send a message by voting for people who will actually cut your taxes. In New York, Republicans already control the State Senate. But they cannot work to lower taxes for New Yorkers as long as the Democrats control the Governor’s Mansion and 105 of the 150 seats in the State House. I understand that this presents an uphill battle since people on welfare rolls who don’t pay any taxes at all repeatedly re-elect the Democrats. If Democrats want to create legislative maps more favorable to them, winning some state legislative seats as well as some gubernatorial races would provide them with the opportunity to do so. They have a lot of ground to make up since they lost over 1,000 state legislative seats during the age of Obama and Republicans currently control two-thirds of the governorships. All states with more than one Congressional district will have to draw new Congressional maps after the 2020 Census, which will go into effect for the 2022 midterm elections.
While the Swamp rats do their best to make sure that elections do not have consequences at the national level, elections at the state and local level have yielded some very positive consequences. As Sean Hannity pointed out on his show, Governors in Red States, with the help of their Republican legislatures, have dramatically lowered their unemployment rates and turned budget deficits into surpluses.
The left also tries to make sure that elections don’t have consequences when it comes to ballot referendums. Despite the fact that more than 30 states, including ultra-liberal California, voted in favor of State Constitutional Amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman, liberals quickly went to the Courts to declare such bans unconstitutional. Let’s not forget about Proposition 187, the immigration bill that Californians voted in favor of in 1994. The bill sought to prevent illegal immigrants from accessing government benefits, including subsidized health care and public education. Not surprisingly, liberals ran to the Courts, where a Jimmy Carter-appointed judge ruled in their favor, declaring parts of the law unconstitutional. Nearly a quarter century after nearly 60 percent of Californians voted in favor of Proposition 187, the pendulum has swung the other way on illegal immigration. Their neighbor to the north, Oregon, just enacted a bill that would force taxpayers to subsidize illegal immigrants’ abortions. Giving Republicans control of the government in Oregon presents the best way to get rid of that bill, which also allows abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any reason. The Democrats currently hold narrow majorities in both houses of the Oregon Legislative Assembly and polling shows a tight race between the state’s Democratic governor and her potential Republican opponents. Flipping nine seats across both chambers from blue to red would give Republicans control of the Assembly. All pro-life Oregonians should work hard to make sure that next year’s election has consequences.
Even as liberal judicial activists, party insiders and powerful lobbyists seek to thwart the will of the people, voting still remains the best way for Americans to enact their desired policy preferences into law. Both parties should do their best to convince voters that they have better ideas on how to fix the country and/or state; rather than just relying on painting the other party as monsters. Next year’s midterm elections will have consequences. Electing more Republicans to the Senate should help the President enact his agenda; while giving the Democrats control of the House will only lead to further gridlock inside the Beltway. Mathematically speaking, Democrats taking control of the Senate seems unlikely as does Republicans making significant gains in the House. Historically, the President’s party suffers electorally during midterm elections. Republicans and conservatives could buck that trend and turn out next year to ensure that next year’s election does not have negative consequences for the Trump agenda.
*Reposted from the author’s personal blog
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