Team Hickenlooper is hard at work engaging in false and outright hypocritical attacks against Cory Gardner over the state of COVID relief negotiations in Congress.
The reason Congressional leadership was unable to strike a deal this week is because Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi flatly rejected a clean four month extension of expiring unemployment benefits.
Even the left-wingers at New York Magazine acknowledged Schumer and Pelosi’s stalling gambit is attributable to Democrats’ belief that Republicans “have more to lose from stimulus gridlock than they do.”
In other words, for John Hickenlooper and Chuck Schumer this is all about politics.
But it’s the SALT reference that really shows some Democratic chutzpah. The cap on state and local tax exemptions to which Schumer reportedly alluded was a much-prized Republican accomplishment in the 2017 Trump tax bill, limiting what conservatives have always regarded as a disgusting subsidy to tax hikes in liberal enclaves. Worse yet, SALT benefits mostly the kind of wealthy coastal elites MAGA folk hate. For the Speaker of the House from California and the Senate Minority Leader from New York, this is basically a constituent-services issue that they are tossing into the stew. It’s also quite possibly a calculated insult to Mnuchin, the administration’s tax policy chief.
Hickenlooper previously opposed instituting the SALT cap, arguing that raising taxes on wealthy itemizers in California would slow down economic growth.
In fact, data suggests Colorado’s relatively low tax burden has helped the state fare better in the COVID recovery:
Looking at 2016 individual federal income tax returns from households that itemize deductions, there are 27 states where the average State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction was under $10,000—the cap under the tax cut signed into law by President Trump in December 2017. These states collectively lost 7.7% of their nonfarm private sector employment from February 2020 to June. In the 23 states with average SALT deductions greater than $10,000, the rate of job losses was 57% greater, 12%.
If you are covering the COVID stimulus negotiations please consider the following quote from Compass Colorado:
“Cory Gardner and Republicans want to provide immediate assistance to struggling Colorado families, but John Hickenlooper says ‘let them eat SALT.’ Hick likes to brag he has a lot of wealthy friends, but his donors in Mountain View don’t need a massive tax cut at the expense of urgent assistance for working people.” -Compass Colorado Executive Director Kyle Kohli