by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kyle Sammin writes at the Federalist website that blue-state governments are struggling to cope with the federal tax law change that limits federal taxpayers’ ability to write off state and local tax payments.
In Democratic-majority states across the nation, state legislators are flailing blindly to find a way around the reduced federal tax deduction for state and local taxes, a tax code provision that previously masked the effects of the high taxes those same legislators have enacted.
They have mulled all manner of half-clever workarounds, schemes that look, maybe, if you squint, like a way to make a tax not a tax, but still something that everyone has to pay to the state government. State legislators often do not represent the highest strata of intelligence in a society, but some of these so-called fixes are so absurd that even the dimmest bulb in the state house could not have offered them with a straight face. What these fake solutions are, instead, is a sad attempt for state legislators to dodge accountability for having made their state’s taxes so high.
The most ridiculous idea along these lines comes out of Sacramento, where a Democratic supermajority controls California’s legislature. That state, which has some of the highest taxes in the country, will find its residents particularly aggrieved once they have to pay all of them without a federal deduction. The solution, according to State Senate leader Kevin de León, is to pretend a tax isn’t a tax. Instead, it’s a charitable donation to the state government. Problem solved!