On tax bill, blue-state Republicans prioritize donors over reform

On tax bill, blue-state Republicans prioritize donors over reform
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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) was named the “Power Player of the Week” on November 19th’s edition of Fox News Sunday.

There are few Republicans who have turned out to be bigger disappointments for conservatives than Elise Stefanik. Democrats can typically count on her to buck conservatives when it comes to “social issues,” such as defending the unborn or protecting religious freedom. Stefanik has even voted to make the military pay for sex change operations.

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But she ventured onto new grounds this week when she voted against the tax cut package put forth by Republicans. Apparently, betraying social conservatives isn’t cool enough anymore; high tax rates are the new hip-hop.

Or maybe it’s more substantial than that. Maybe Stefanik has a good reason to vote against tax reform.

From Syracuse.com:

Stefanik objects to the GOP plan's elimination of federal deductions for state and income and sales taxes, and a plan to cap the amount homeowners can deduct in property taxes at $10,000 per year.”  

Stefanik isn’t the only politician from New York that opposes tax reform for this reason. She joins Gov. Andrew Cuomo in opposing the bill. From the New York Times:

“It’s very bad for New York. It’s very bad for California, and basically 10 other states in the country. Now, coincidentally, the 12 states that are affected are primarily Democratic states. … I am most appalled that you would have Republican congresspeople who voted for it. And I talked to all of them and they all had the same line which was, ‘Well you know my political leaders are forcing me to vote for it.’ … You don’t work for your political leaders. You work for the people who elected you.”

Cuomo — and other Democrats from high tax states — hates this bill because it ends the practice of the federal government bailing out and subsidizing their big tax and spend agendas at the state level. By virtually eliminating SALT (State and Local Tax deductions) the federal government is forcing these blue states to get serious about fixing their high tax burdens and uncontrollable spending.

Democrats know that this tax reform forces blue states with high taxes to either lower taxes or scrap plans to dramatically increase them. Politico ran a piece over the weekend quoting several state level Democrats saying such. "We're going to have to re-evaluate everything" if a federal bill repealing the state and local tax deduction becomes law, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney told the news organization.

Stefanik isn’t stupid. She’s a prodigy — the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She knows the implications of this bill. So why is she doing the bidding of Cuomo and Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall Pelosi: 'People are dying' because McConnell won't bring up gun legislation MORE (D-N.Y.)? Perhaps Stefanik is actually doing this at the bidding of or to help her wealthy GOP donors from New York City like Paul Singer. After all, this property tax provision capping deductions at $10,000 isn’t likely to affect 99 percent of the constituents in her district, but it will affect any of her megadonors in New York City who have multi-million dollar penthouse apartments.

Either way, Stefanik isn’t voting in the best interests of her district or the country. Her constituents in upstate New York would be better off if Stefanik was calling out high tax and big spending Democrats back home along with the out-of-touch members of the donor class — instead, she’s carrying their water.

Make no mistake, Fox News Sunday was right — Stefanik is indeed a power player — for tax-loving Democrats and New York City billionaires, but not for her constituents who desperately need tax relief.

Terry Schilling is the executive director at American Principles Project.