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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Debt Sale Could Help Close Budget Gap

The State of California is currently sitting on billions of dollars of uncollected debt that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars on private debt markets. Rather than raise taxes on the hardworking people of California, state leaders should sell off debt to raise the cash we need—just like private businesses do.

Selling aging debt is a common practice in the private sector and has also been used successfully by many local governments. Selling debt makes a lot more sense than selling buildings you have to turn around and lease back.

The sale of these assets could provide much-needed one-time cash. Combined with rising revenues, these dollars could help protect priority programs and eliminate the perceived need to impose higher taxes on struggling Californians.

Today I called upon the Governor and legislative leaders urging them to consider such a sale in their ongoing budget negotiations.

Below is the text of my letter.

—-

June 6, 2011

Dear Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders:

I am writing to suggest monetizing a portion of the billions of dollars in debt owed the State of California as a possible… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

‘Tax the Rich’ Code for Taxing Job Creators

Years of overtaxation and overregulation have given California the second highest unemployment rate in the nation. Even so some of our state lawmakers still believe that punishing success is a recipe for job growth.

Efforts by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and other Democrat legislators to increase taxes on high income earners will actually punish California job creators and worsen volatile state revenues.

According to the Tax Foundation, California already has the third highest income tax rate and one of the most progressive tax structures in the nation. The top one percent of California’s income earners have incomes of $500,000 or more per year and pay up to 50% of all income tax revenues received by the state each year, according to a report by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The battle cry to ‘tax the rich’ is really code for taxing California’s job creators, including many small businesses that are struggling to survive. Rather than help California’s budget, higher taxes will reduce revenues and drive even more job creators out of our state or out of business.

The Tax Foundation also… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Governor’s New Enterprise Zone Proposal Just as Bad

I have reviewed the Governor’s latest budget proposals related to Enterprise Zones, and they are as bad as the original proposal that would have eliminated the program altogether.

It’s Still a Tax Increase:

First of all, this would still impose a tax increase on thousands of California businesses that would be retroactive. Many of these businesses have survived thanks in large part to the Enterprise Zone program, and have kept their employees working in California during the economic recession.

High-Tech and Bio-Tech Industries Harmed:

The Governor’s limitations on tax credit carryovers would be particularly harmful to startup companies especially in the high-tech and bio-tech sectors that would be unable to utilize the Enterprise Zone tax credits.

Governor’s Enterprise Zone Plan Would Force Job Layoffs:

The small business community has reviewed the Governor’s plan and they are alarmed. A small printing firm in San Diego had this to say about it: “Thanks to Enterprise Zone tax credits, we were able to retain employees that we otherwise would have been forced to lay off… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Little to Cheer in Governor’s Revised Budget

Overtaxed Californians will find little to cheer in the Governor’s revised budget proposal.

Despite the Governor’s concession to postpone higher income taxes for a year, he continues to push for legislative approval of higher sales taxes and car taxes this year.

And although the Governor dropped his effort to abolish enterprise zones—and the jobs they create—he continues to miss the big picture: Californians need jobs, not higher taxes.

Our best hope for new revenues isn’t higher taxes, but new jobs fueled by a recovering economy. Unfortunately, the Governor has yet to truly lift a finger in the fight for California jobs.… Read More

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