Victims of California Wildfires vs Federal Tax Legislation

Victims of California Wildfires vs Federal Tax Legislation

Credit: Kari Greer U.S.F.S

Riverside – As wildfires once again raged across California burning hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying homes and up-ending lives in the process recently, federal legislators barreled toward final passage of tax legislation that many critics are concerned is tailor-made for the wealthy and big businesses at the expense of the nation’s working class and poor. 

One example of the negative impact it will have on taxpayers in California is directly connected to the tragedy of wildfires and earthquakes that historically impact residents and the economy of the state. 

As the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate now work to reconcile the two versions of the tax legislation they have passed into a single bill for a final vote, it is important for California taxpayers and voters to know that in the version of tax legislation passed by the House Republicans—the deduction for personal losses from wildfires and earthquakes is eliminated. 

The elimination of these deductions appears tailor-made to hurt California and its tax payers. Wildfires and earthquakes are part of life in this state just as hurricanes are part of life in Southern states and along the Eastern seaboard, yet the tax legislation—keeps deductions for hurricane victims. 

Such disparate treatment of American taxpayers has left many Californians asking why? Not only why the difference in tax treatment between the two geographies, but also what is the motivation and justification behind the elimination of tax deductions for personal losses from some types of natural disasters and not others? 

Most importantly, some have asked why Republican Representatives from the state of California would vote “yes” on legislation that will so obviously hurt their constituents, the very people they are in office to represent? Those who voted in favor of the tax bill that would eliminate the deduction for personal losses from wildfires and earthquakes include Ken Calvert, Ed Royce, Paul Cook, Duncan Hunter, Mimi Walters, Doug Lamalfa, Jeff Denham, Steve Knight, David Valadao, Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy. 

In light of the state’s recent, epic fire events and in addition to new revelations from scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that California’s drought is likely to continue, many voters are hopeful these representatives will vote “no” on the final version of the federal tax bill. 

See Artic Sea Loss Could Dry Out California at https://www.llnl.gov/news/arctic-sea-ice-loss-could-dry-out-california.

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