Jeff Denham: Republican House Member Voting to Make His District and Constituents Poorer
Devin Nunes: Republican House Member Voting to Make His District and Constituents Poorer

David Valadao: Republican House Member Voting to Make His District and Constituents Poorer

Valadao Hanford


District 21: Central Valley: 
Southern Fresno-Eastern Bakersfield

D+05: Safeness of Seat   
17%:  Percent of Returns   
3.5%: Percent of AGI   
$350 million SALT in 2014

250,000 tax returns in 2014
$10.019 billion AGI in 2014
$0.3539 billion deduction amount in 2014

63.2%: Income <$50K/year
29.8%: Poverty Rate
16.8%: White Collar
1.6% : Income >200K/year

Only 17% of tax returns in David Valadao's 21st California Congressional District in 2014 would have been penalized had state and local tax payments been added into the federal income tax base. The total increase in the tax base in 2014 would have been 350 million dollars. We do not have sufficient detail to produce a precise estimate of how much taxes would have gone up—the Trump administration could, if it wanted to—but the rough ballpark number is 75 million: the Republican tax bill will, if enacted, take 75 million dollars a year out of the incomes and spending of Kevin McCarthy's constituents.

The poor (for California) Central Valley 21st contains only a very small slice of people who are possible beneficiaries from the tax bill: 1.6% of returns in 2014 reported adjusted gross incomes greater than 200,000 dollars a year. But by the same token that was one-tenth of the number of returns that itemized SALT. However, incomes and property taxes are low enough that the 21st is one of the very few districts in California in which the financial penalties imposed by adding state and local tax payments into the federal income tax base is not salient: the penalty to the district is only a tenth as large as for some of the more prosperous Republican districts in Greater Los Angeles.

The Central Valley 21st is now more than 70% Latino: it is a natural Democratic pickup. David Valadao has prospered so far in terms of focusing on advancing legislative initiatives in Washington DC that matter for the district. Hence his vote for the tax bill is a great puzzle.

He may well have decided that, with the ongoing catastrophe of the Trump administration and a possible anti-Republican wave election in 2018, he has no future in California politics. Hence he may have shifted to seeing his principal constituents on K-Street and in the House leadership. If so, this would be a surprise: I believe the Valadao Dairy in Hanford, CA is a prosperous and well-run part of the community, and David Valadao remains a partner.

(Assuming, of course, there has not been a programming mistake in moving from zipcode-level IRS Statistics of Income to Congressional District level. Programming mistakes are easy to make.)

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