Congresswoman Katie Porter is an ultra-progressive who regularly rails against Big Business and leads the charge to “tax the rich.” But the California Democrat is now twisting herself in pretzels to justify her support for a huge tax loophole for rich people in her state.
She recently helped relaunched the bipartisan “SALT Caucus,” a group of lawmakers dedicated to restoring the full State and Local Tax Deduction. This tax loophole gives Americans in high-tax, blue states a discount on their federal taxes because they are allowed to write-off their state and local taxes. It was reduced by the 2017 GOP tax reform and capped at $10,000. Porter wants to scrap this cap and just introduced legislation to roll it back.
Californians shouldn't be taxed on money we don't have—a concept so basic it's been in our tax code since the beginning. This week, I helped relaunch the SALT Caucus, which will continue working to restore tax fairness for middle class families. pic.twitter.com/QoxAYTQXGS
— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) February 10, 2023
“Middle class families in Orange County have been feeling the squeeze, and the Trump tax law’s cap on the state and local tax deduction has made it worse,” Porter said. “Our tax code should provide a level playing field across states, not punish some Americans for living in regions with high costs of living. Our SALT Act will restore fairness to our tax code, with sensible guardrails to prevent abuse by the ultra-wealthy.”
What makes this so hypocritical is that the SALT deduction is a provision of the tax code that mostly helps the middle and upper classes. (In fairness, Porter’s proposal doesn’t apply to those earning over $1 million—but it still would mostly help those in the upper-middle class, not the working poor by any stretch.)
As the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has pointed out, fully repealing the SALT cap would almost exclusively help the well-off.
Just a reminder that this $100 billion/year tax cut overwhelmingly benefits the rich.https://t.co/6GA5J7D2YQ https://t.co/Kt6gM1MTwG pic.twitter.com/q4XywOxGl7
— Marc Goldwein (@MarcGoldwein) February 12, 2023
It’s funny how these “tax the rich” progressives sing a different tune when it comes to a loophole that lets their wealthy constituents (read: donors) pay less in taxes.
Now, I’m generally in favor of lower tax levels, even for the wealthy. But the SALT tax deduction is the kind of corrupt loophole we should be looking to get rid of while simplifying the tax code and cutting rates overall. It also encourages the growth of the welfare state and Big Government at the state and local level by letting those localities skimp on their share of the federal tax burden because they choose to have more government spending locally.
If Californians want to tax and spend more in their state, fine, but don’t try to pass the costs along to the rest of us! And maybe don’t push tax loopholes for the affluent while styling yourself a progressive champion of the working poor, Katie Porter.
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