Op-Ed: The Biggest Problem With the GOP Tax Bill is the Attack on Local Governments

Plenty has been said and will be said about the GOP tax bill currently being reconciled by Congress. But is it possible we’re overlooking the biggest problem with this legislation?

Zócalo Public Square columnist and editor Joe Mathews thinks so. In an op-ed available at Fox & Hounds Daily, he declares that the real issue with the legislation isn’t taxes, but its assault on local governments.

Here’s an excerpt:

The legislation was not put together in public, with hearings and scrutiny that could allow the bill to take on changes and improvements. It was put together behind closed doors, rapidly, with little scrutiny (and no small number of mistakes).

The result is a bill that adds to the power of the federal government – with all kinds of goodies for favored people and industries who can lobby at the national level – and hammers regular people (whose meager tax benefits are phased out) and especially local governments.

That’s the real problem with the bill’s attempts to get rid of credits for state and local taxes. It’s true that the exemption benefits mainly better-off taxpayers in better-off states like California. But the other beneficiary are local governments and the communities they serve; the deduction makes it easier for citizens to support such taxation and offer the essential government services that make people’s lives better.

That money also offers choices – putting real teeth in local democracy. In California, where local democracy is weak because state government is too strong and centralized, every little bit of help the locals can get is important.

Read the entire op-ed here