Ad blitz in California brings tax plan fight home

With a vote expected Thursday on the proposed GOP tax overhaul, California's House Republicans are being targeted with a blitz of ads highlighting changes that would hurt many California taxpayers.

In turn, Republican-connected groups have launched ads encouraging the lawmakers to back the plan.

Five of the state’s GOP members are being targeted in television ads that began airing over the weekend about the tax reform plan that would disproportionately impact residents of high-tax states such as California.

“The Republican tax plan will raise taxes on California families by eliminating middle-class tax deductions to pay for a massive tax break for the super wealthy and big corporations,” a narrator says during the 30-second ad, which the “Not One Penny” coalition of liberal and labor groups funded. “Tell your member of Congress to vote ‘no’ on the Republican tax plan. California families can’t afford it.”

The ads are airing on cable and network stations in districts represented by Darrell Issa of Vista, Steve Knight of Palmdale, Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, Ed Royce of Fullerton and Mimi Walters of Irvine. Flipping at least some of those districts, which Hillary Clinton won over Donald Trump last year, is critical to Democrats’ efforts to retake the House.

Republican House members from California are facing competing pressures — a desire to accomplish a major legislative achievement before the midterm elections, and a reluctance to support a bill that would eliminate and restrict tax breaks used heavily by their constituents.

The House version of the tax proposal would eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, limit the property tax deduction to $10,000 and cap the mortgage interest deduction on loans up to $500,000, rather than the current $1 million. The Senate version preserves the current mortgage deduction but eliminates the property tax deduction.

Unlike their counterparts in states such as New York and New Jersey, California Republicans haven't put up much of a fight against the tax bill and the possible elimination of the popular tax deductions. So far, only Issa has said he opposes the House version.

Red to Blue CA

Red to Blue California, a political action committee seeking to unseat vulnerable California GOP lawmakers, began running digital ads Monday casting the tax plan as “billionaire tax cuts” and urging voters to call their members of Congress to oppose the plan. The group said the ads will reach about 250,000 people in each of the seven GOP-held districts where Clinton won last year.

Another PAC, Fight Back California, has been running digital ads over the last week, targeting about 30,000 voters in each of the districts and focusing primarily on homeowners who would be affected by the changes to mortgage interest deduction.

With pressure building through ads opposed to the plan, a super PAC connected with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan launched ads Monday encouraging the lawmakers to back the tax bill.

The $1.5 million in television and online ads from American Action Network targets 23 Republicans in multiple high tax states, including five in California — Denham, Valadao, Knight, Walters and Issa. A similar ad by the pro-Trump PAC 45Committee urging four House Republicans to “keep your promise and vote yes on tax reform” will air on cable and radio. These are among the first efforts by Republicans to shore up tax plan support through ads in California.

FOR THE RECORD, Nov. 16, 2017: The group connected to Speaker Paul D. Ryan that is running ads is a politically active nonprofit, not a super PAC.

For more on California politics, follow @cmaiduc.


Updates on California politics


2 p.m.: This article was updated to clarify that Fight Back California is targeting 30,000 voters in each of the seven districts.

This article was originally published at 3 a.m.