Rep. Darrell Issa speaks to reporters
Rep. Darrell Issa speaks to reporters in Washington. Photo courtesy Issa’s office

After blaming Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown last week for high California taxes, Rep. Darrell Issa on Tuesday backed away from a Republican plan to end the exemption for state income taxes and large mortgages.

“I cannot endorse changes that may make the tremendous burden felt by California taxpayers even worse,” Issa said. “Tax reform should lower taxes for all taxpayers — regardless of where they live.”

He said he cannot support the Republican tax reform bill in its current form, which would limit the mortgage interest deduction to loans under $500,000 and end the deduction for state income taxes.

“My overriding concern with the current House tax reform proposal is that many Californians who need and deserve tax relief won’t benefit from the current framework, or at worse, may see their tax burden rise as a consequence of certain changes including, but not limited to, the elimination of the state and local income tax deduction,” he said.

Brown sent Issa a letter last week asking him as a “fellow citizen of California” to “vote NO on any proposal that would take away the right of our people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal tax bill.”

Issa fired back that the real problem was the “tremendous weight that your misguided policies have put on California taxpayers.”

But on Tuesday, Issa said “sky-high tax rates, coupled with high housing and property costs, are pushing Californians to the brink” and taking away deductions would cause further pain.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.