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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► President Trump and Congressional Republicans unveiled their new tax plan on Wednesday, and while the rollout was short on details, some of the major potential impacts are not hard to understand. As Vox.com reports:
Here is what you need to know about the Republican tax plan released Wednesday: It’s not a tax reform plan at all.
It is a sketch of an outline of a preliminary notion of a tax cut for some — and a tax hike for others. The components read like the jumble of ideas you might expect a table of slightly inebriated Chamber of Commerce types to shout out when polled for their tax reform suggestions…
…We can identify at least one taxpayer who will hugely benefit from the proposal: President Donald Trump. We still haven’t seen his tax returns, but thanks to leaked documents we know that at least at some point in the past, the only income tax he paid was the alternative minimum tax (the AMT). We also know that his businesses operate through “pass-through” vehicles (partnerships, LLCs and S corporations). A regular corporation pays tax on its income; shareholders in turn pay tax on the dividends they receive. In pass-through vehicles, by contrast, business income is taxed only in the hands of the owners of the business, rather than at the entity level.
The Republican tax plan eliminates the AMT, which would be a significant benefit to one Donald J. Trump.
Republican rhetoric about their tax plan is oddly reminiscent of Congressional attempts to repeal Obamacare, as NBC News explains. For more of a Colorado-based perspective, check out this analysis from 9News.
► Earlier this week, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) challenged former Rep. Tom Tancredo to run against him in a Republican primary in CD-6. Tancredo threw down a different gauntlet in prodding Coffman to run against him in a Republican gubernatorial primary in 2018.
► The big election-related news this week was Tuesday’s Republican Senate Primary in Alabama, where Roy Moore ousted establishment favorite Luther Strange by a sizable margin. Moore’s victory is causing much hand-wringing among Republican leaders who worry that right-wing candidates will be emboldened to challenge incumbent Republicans in 2018. But as CNN notes, there were two other important election results this week that portend bad news for the GOP in a General Election:
In Florida, Democrat Annette Tadeo won a Republican-held state Senate district 51% to 47%. In New Hampshire, Democrat Kari Lerner beat a former Republican state representative to fill a state House district that Donald Trump won by 23 points last November.
Those twin wins make it eight Republican-controlled state legislative seats that Democrats have flipped in 2017 alone. (Republicans flipped a Democratic state House seat in Louisiana earlier this year although Democrats didn’t even field a candidate in that race.)
That means that of the 27 Republican-held state legislative seats that have come open in 2017 to date, Democrats have now flipped almost 30% of them — a remarkable number in anycircumstance but especially so when you consider the average Trump margin in these seats in 2016 was 19 points.
Approval ratings for Republicans overall reached a record low this week, and the generic “Democrat or Republican” ballot question now has Democrats with a +9 advantage. If these trends hold, Republicans are in danger of losing both chambers in Congress next November.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scales returned to Congress today, 15 weeks after suffering serious wounds in a shooting attack in Washington D.C.
► Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is scheduled to give a big speech today in Washington D.C. at the Trump International Hotel. As Mark Matthews writes for the Denver Post:
The speech, though, isn’t what is attracting an outcry — as there’s a long tradition of Supreme Court justices accepting invitations to speak before groups across the political spectrum.
Rather, it’s the setting inside the Trump International Hotel — a hangout for hangers-on of the administration just a few blocks from the White House. Critics contend Gorsuch’s presence there sends the wrong signal.
“However implicit, and however you may not desire to create such an impression, the appearance of such an endorsement is why you should not appear at a hotel owned by, and named after, a candidate for political office,” wrote several opponents of the idea, from the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, to Norman Ornstein, a political analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
► Another Trump cabinet official is facing questions about traveling on a private plane. This time, EPA chief Scott Pruitt is dealing with concerns about his expensive travel arrangements. President Trump is apparently furious with HHS Secretary Tom Price over the latter’s extensive and expensive use of private aircraft.
► John Elway says that politics and football should not mix. This is the same John Elway who earlier this year wrote a letter of recommendation for then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch — printed on official Denver Broncos letterhead.
► A Republican candidate for school board in Jefferson County, Erica Shields, has some explaining to do about a social media post depicting her son covered with guns under the title “Freedom Blanket.” Classy.
► Colorado Republicans are not holding back in their criticism of Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom they blame for derailing the latest attempt at repealing Obamacare.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) might have the worst political job in America for the 2018 election cycle.
► State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) lost his first court battle in an ongoing dispute about whether he used his standing in the legislature to intimidate competitors in the field of fireplace manufacturing.
► The Regional Transportation District (RTD) received approval to continue testing road crossing gates along its light rail line between Arvada and Denver. The “G” line was supposed to begin service about 18 months ago but has been delayed because of safety concerns.
► Officials in Pueblo are debating the merits of moving the city to a “strong mayor” form of municipal government.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► A New York developer wants to build a 90-story skyscraper in Denver, which would make it the tallest building in the city by about 40 stories.
► South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham admits that he had “no idea” what he was doing in drafting legislation to repeal Obamacare. The Graham-Cassidy bill met its demise on Tuesday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow a floor vote out of concern that Republicans didn’t have the votes to pass the legislation.
► Did we mention that there is a new episode of “The Get More Smarter Show“? It’s true! Check out our in-depth interview with Joe Neguse, Democratic candidate for Congress in CD-2.