Tax season is in its last week, which means stories of Americans getting absolutely screwed by the new Republican tax law continue. It is the Republican man to cap tax deductions for state and local taxes—including property taxes—that is the major culprit, and as you read through example after example of not-wealthy families facing thousands in additional federal taxes so that a narrow band of billionaires can be relieved of their own tax burdens keep in mind that this is all very intentional on the part of Republicans. They did this on purpose.
The impact is keenly felt by middle-class homeowners who live in towns with high property taxes, which some told CBS MoneyWatch they choose for their great public schools. Getting slammed by higher taxes under the new tax law has prompted some to rethink their plans, even mulling moving after their kids graduate from high school.
It should be obvious that the slashing of tax credits for state and local taxes almost exclusively affects taxpayers in high-tax states and cities. What do those states and cities tend to look like? They tend to be Democratic-leaning, or more accurately non-conservative. They are places in which voters have themselves voted for higher taxes in order to fund better roads, better schools, better parks, better services for the poor, sick, elderly, or disabled, and so on, all of those things being the precise opposite of what modern Republicanism demands of government.
Republicans can’t force blue and purple states to adopt the same strategies of services-slashing, school-closing nihilism that have led to chaos in hard-right places like Kansas and Oklahoma, but unified control of the House, Senate, and White House allowed them to do the next best thing: punish the voters in those states good and hard with a custom-tailored tax hike designed to put the screws to liberal states. It is intended to put pressure on high-tax states to lower their taxes and service levels; it is intended as petty revenge against blue-state voters who will not vote for conservatives anyway, and thus are seen as pocketbooks to be picked for the benefit of more Republican areas.
No matter what you may think about the rest of Republicanism, their lawmakers’ inventiveness in retaliating against anyone in the nation perceived to be an enemy has never wavered. It may at this point be the sole remaining plank of the party platform.
The long and short of this is that if you are one of the Americans who still has not yet filed their taxes and you live in a high-tax state like New York, New Jersey or California, and specifically if you are a homeowner, prepare for the possibility of a nasty surprise. You will not be alone: the latest estimates are that 11 million taxpayers are affected.