Mimi Walters: Republican House Member Voting to Make Her District and Constituents Poorer
Ken Calvert: Republican House Member Voting to Make His District and Constituents Poorer

Steve Knight: Republican House Member Voting to Make His District and Constituents Poorer

Knight Palmdale


District 25: Antelope Valley: Northeast Los Angeles 
Suburbs and Exurbs

Even: Safeness of Seat   
42%:  Percent of Returns   
7.4%: Percent of AGI   
$1.49 billion SALT in 2014

304,000 tax returns in 2014
$20.131 billion AGI in 2014
$1.4947 billion deduction amount in 2014

36.6%: Income <$50K/year
14.0%: Poverty Rate
37.4%: White Collar
8.0% : Income >$200K/year

42% of tax returns in Steve Knight's 25th 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 1.49 billion 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 375 million: the Republican tax bill will, if enacted, take 375 million dollars a year out of the incomes and spending of Steve Knight's constituents.

As a prosperous suburban district in Greater Los Angeles, the 25th contains a substantial slice of people who are possible beneficiaries from the tax bill: 8.0% of returns in 2014 reported adjusted gross incomes greater than 200,000 dollars a year. But by the same token that was less than one-fifth of the number of returns that itemized SALT.

The 25th is now a competitive district. The highly enterprising and prosperous traditionally-Republican California upper middle class's concerns are not the Republican Party's core concerns any more. Steve Knight is part of the "adjustment": he was one of three Confederate flag-waivers when he was in the California state senate, and he has been feeding the new base the red meat on immigration and gun safety—a political position that works reasonably well elsewhere in the country, but not so much in California, especially in a district with shifting demography.

Knight is only in his third term in the House of Representatives. He does have deep roots in the district: Born in Palmdale and an 18 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. His vote for the tax bill is perhaps the greatest surprise: too new in Washington to have put down serious roots in the lobbyist community, and in too vulnerable a seat for it to be prudent for him to do politically-risky favors for House leadership without extracting something of substantial value for his state, his district, and his constituents in return.

(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.)

pdf version: http://delong.typepad.com/steve-knight-republican-house-member-voting-to-make-his-district-and-constituents-poorer.pdf