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California’s War With Trump

Since US President Donald Trump took office, governments in states like California have sought ways to negate his policies on taxation, immigration, energy, and more. How this standoff will end is anyone's guess; but where it will end is clear: in the courts.

STANFORD – If one looks past the headlines of the media’s full-time Donald Trump coverage, one can discern a global shift in political, economic, and cultural forces that might prove far more consequential for America and the world than the actual Trump presidency. Chief among these changes is the fraying of relations between central and subnational, and national and supranational, governments.

Americans primarily interact with government at the state and local level, through schools and roads, police and hospitals. And in California, among other states, demands for greater local autonomy are growing louder, occasionally echoing the rhetoric of Catalan secessionists or Brexiteers in the United Kingdom. With near-monopoly control of California’s state and local governments, the Democrats are trying to negate the effects of virtually all of Trump’s policies.

For example, a bill in the state legislature would offset the new federal tax law’s limit on state income- and property-tax deductions – a provision that will hit California hard because it has one of the highest tax rates in the country, and its residents own expensive homes. Under the proposed state law, Californians would be allowed to “donate” their state taxes to a state shell charity as tax-deductible charitable contributions.

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