Vice President Mike Pence is wrapping up a busy three-day trip to California today. He’ll visit the Mojave Air and Space Port – the test center for the world’s first commercial spaceline. Monday, he held three fundraisers – and mixed in a tax reform event as well.
Shortly after Air Force Two landed near Sacramento yesterday afternoon, the vice president introduced himself to Johnny Morales, who runs a small family pest control business. Pence asked Morales what he thought about the Republican proposal to overhaul the U.S. tax system.
“We’re in a heavily regulated state – business – pest control, along with termite work and things like that," said Morales. "So when they announced that the corporate rate was going to come down, we’ve been wanting to incorporate, and so it literally is a bigger incentive.”
Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, went from table to table at a carefully staged event at a manufacturing company in the nearby suburb of Rancho Cordova – talking with pre-screened families about the need for tax reform.
“We’re gonna ensure – by doubling the standard deduction – that the first $24,000 in income for families will be tax free,” said Pence.
There was no mention of the piece of the tax plan that would hit Californians hard. The elimination of the state income tax deduction could cancel out gains from other parts of the proposal. Indeed, Pence was on message – and then out the door to his third fundraiser of the day, at a downtown Sacramento hotel.
Democratic political consultant Steve Maviglio says fundraising is the real reason for Pence’s trip to California – as the 2018 midterms loom barely a year away.
“Both sides are going to raise record amounts of money," says Maviglio. "And that’s exactly why the vice president and Kevin McCarthy are here – just to tap the California ATM, because they know they’re going to be on the defensive in 2018.”
This time, though, some of the money will stay in California. Democrats hope to unseat seven Republican members of Congress who represent districts won by Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, Pence says he’s spoken with Governor Jerry Brown and promised whatever federal aid California needs.
“I want to assure the people of California – on behalf of President Trump and our entire administration – that we will be working very closely with Governor Brown and with California to see you through these challenging times,” said Pence.
The vice president acknowledged the country has faced a challenging month-and-a-half of disasters – from hurricanes to wildfires. Pence and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield met with firefighters Monday during their fundraising swing through California.
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