The #CorkerKickback Will Give Steve Daines Millions of Dollars. Call His Office Today!

When historians look back at the sordid spectacle of the GOP effort to pass a tax bill designed to transfer massive wealth from the middle class to the richest Americans, surely one of the most egregious moments will be the inclusion of a provision inserted into the bill during conference that will allow real investment trusts to be taxed at 20%, rather than the 37% rate for the wealthiest of Americans. Dubbed the #CorkerKickback because of reasonable speculation that it was included in the last minute to buy the vote of retiring Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the provision will dramatically reduce taxes for Donald Trump, Corker, and a whole lot of Republican Senators who will be voting on the bill.

Among them is Montana’s Steve Daines. According to David Sirota, Alex Kotch, and Josh Keefe, who broke the original story about the kickback, Daines will be one of the top beneficiaries of the provision, which neither went through revenue analysis nor budget scoring:

Montana Sen. Steve Daines, whose estimated net worth was $14.4 million in 2015, reported earning between $425,000 and $4.2 million last year in rental income from eight properties managed by Genesis LLC.

This chart, from IBT, shows that Daines will receive the third highest tax break on the real estate provision due to his income from property worth as much as $22 million dollars:

Daines was already going to see an enormous tax reduction because of the provisions of the Republican bill, but he and a few millionaire real estate investors decided they just weren’t getting enough and in the secrecy of the conference committee slipped in this additional perk. This, while the broader bill will lead to tax hikes for the middle class, defunded public education, and explosive growth in the national debt not seen since the last Republican tax cut designed to benefit the wealthiest Americans.

This provision, plus the earlier pass-through tax reduction Daines said his vote depended on, will cost the government over $400 billion in lost revenues in the next decade. The New York Times put that lost revenue in context:

All told, the 20 percent deduction for pass-through income would cost the government $414.5 billion in lost revenue over 10 years, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. To put that number into context, it is about 29 times as much as the roughly $14 billion a year that the federal government spends on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly nine million kids from low-income families. Congress let authorization for that program lapse at the end of September.

There’s the Daines-Gianforte-Trump tax bill in its purest form: while our nation may not have enough money to ensure that a sick kid can see a doctor, we certainly have enough money so oligarchs can buy themselves another mansion or luxury car.

Seen in the most charitable light, Senator Daines’s support for this bill is an unseemly money grab from a member of the monied elite. Seen most honestly, it’s a craven, corrupt play to surreptitiously trade his office for personal gain. In either case, Montana has almost certainly seen enough from Steve Daines.

Tell Steve Daines that he wasn’t elected to line his own pockets but to represent Montanans of all incomes.

MONTANA Daines, Steve Billings (406) 245-6822
MONTANA Daines, Steve Bozeman (406) 587-3446
MONTANA Daines, Steve Great Falls (406) 453-0148
MONTANA Daines, Steve Hardin (406) 665-4126
MONTANA Daines, Steve Helena (406) 443-3189
MONTANA Daines, Steve Kalispell (406) 257-3765
MONTANA Daines, Steve Missoula (406) 549-8198
MONTANA Daines, Steve Sidney (406) 482-9010
MONTANA Daines, Steve Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2651


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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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