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Bakersfield Realtors to Rep. McCarthy: Protect tax deductions for homeowners

Local real estate agents on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, picket at Rep. Kevin McCarthy's Bakersfield, Calif., office, asking that he defend tax incentives for homeowners. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Bakersfield Realtors on Tuesday gathered at Rep. Kevin McCarthy's district office on Empire Drive to protest the House Republican tax bill.

They said that the proposed new structure removes longstanding incentives for Americans to own homes, what they say is central to our society and wealth creation.

"It is not to the benefit of middle America," said Jeanne Radsick, a Bakersfield real estate agent who works on the political team for the National Association of Realtors. "They're the ones that are going to carry the biggest tax burden."

McCarthy, a strong proponent of the legislation, refutes that claim, writing in an emailed statement that, "In its entirety, this bill lets our neighbors keep more of their hard-earned money, which will grow the economy and provide more in our community the opportunity to buy a home."

Radsick and her colleagues say that, as written, the House tax bill is great for renters.

"We all know that's where most people start," she said. "But the American dream is to be a homeowner."

The House GOP plan would put a cap on the mortgage interest deduction and eliminate deductions for local and state taxes -- savings Radsick said would be sorely missed.

"That's huge. In California, we pay the highest taxes of anyone in the country," she said.

But the Republican plan is for fewer Americans to itemize deductions. In a push to make taxes fit on a postcard, they've proposed doubling the standard deduction. For many people, including those with smaller mortgages, this new number is high enough they'll come out ahead, but individual situations may vary.

"In Bakersfield, there's going to be some of those issues that are going to be kind of middle ground as to how it's going to impact us," Radsick said.

Still, the association says that removing tax incentives for people to buy more expensive homes may keep people from moving up as fast as they may have otherwise.

"Mortgage interest deductibility is not, in our opinion, considered a loophole," she said. "It has been part of the tax code since 1913. This is the bedrock of what has allowed people to own homes."

McCarthy's full statement to Eyewitness News is as follows:

"Owning a home continues to be the foundation of the American dream and I am aware of the concerns that realtors have about different deductions in our current tax code. But this bill is a tax cut for hard working Californians. It repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax, lowers taxes on small businesses to the lowest level since World War II, repeals the estate tax that often hurts family businesses and family farms, and increases the standard deduction and family tax credit so that the first $55,000 for a family of four is tax free. In its entirety, this bill lets our neighbors keep more of their hard-earned money which will grow the economy and provide more in our community the opportunity to buy a home.”


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