2020 Senate Race Featured Montana Politics Steve Daines

We Shamed Steve Daines Into Reversing His Tax Hike on Gold Star Families, but That’s Not Good Enough

It looks like we’ve successfully shamed Senator Steve Daines into trying to reverse the massive tax hike on Gold Star Families he voted for last year. The local traditional media could take credit for making the Senator act, of course, but it’s hard to imagine how Daines could have been shamed by their silence.

In his e-mail to Montanans, though, Daines did not tell the truth. He writes:

This week I joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing legislation to reduce taxes on Gold Star families. These families have lost a loved one while serving in the military, and they should not be forced to pay burdensome taxes.

While Daines implies that the bill will prevent them from paying taxes, that’s just not the case. What the proposal will do, though, is to reverse the massive increase on survivor benefits that Daines supported in last year’s tax giveaway.

Steve Daines blackmailed the Senate to give himself a tax break that ended up tripling taxes on kids who lost parents serving in the military and now is trying to take credit for fixing it.

And it’s worth remembering that Daines spent days holding up the tax bill last year, not to protect these Gold Star families or even the 50% of Montanans who saw almost no reduction in their taxes, but to ensure that he would receive an almost half million dollar giveaway.

To add insult to injury, Daines blamed the tax hike on a “drafting error” in the hurried process to write the bill:

Due to a drafting mistake, the survivor benefits of Gold Star families are currently being taxed at a higher rate than intended.

Who could have ever predicted that a sloppily-written bill constructed in secret and rushed through the Senate to give certain Senators like Daines huge personal tax breaks could have had those kind of errors? Oh, that’s right, everyone who actually cares more about governance than enriching the oligarchs, most notably Jon Tester in one of my favorite videos:

Here’s the real takeaway: Steve Daines blackmailed the Senate to give himself a tax break that, because it was so badly written and rushed, ended up tripling taxes on kids who lost parents serving in the military and now is trying to take credit for fixing it.

It’s repulsive. And one can only hope that the same Montana media that ignored his malfeasance in the first place will at least have the decency to ignore this press release where he is claiming credit for trying to fix a problem he created.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, 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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