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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

Numbers Show The Deck is Stacked for Republicans in California’s Legislature

Elected Republicans represent nearly a third of California’s legislators, but are only getting 18 percent of their bills passed, for eventual consideration by Gov. Jerry Brown. This is despite the fact that they represent nearly 40 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the last election. And even worse, Brown so far has only approved about 16.5 percent of Republican bills, while Democrats saw 83.4 percent of their bills signed into law.

A few revealing statistics surrounding the outcomes for 2,550 new bills introduced during the recent 2017 session in the California Legislature point out which party gets to feast, and which can expect leftover crumbs.

As only the… Read More

Katy Grimes

Court Unanimously Sides With Farm Workers and Gerawan Farming

A California Appellate Court struck down California’s compulsory contracting statute as unconstitutional, and set aside the ALRB-ordered contract against Gerawan Farming and its workers.

A three-judge panel justunanimously struck down California’s Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation secrecy law as unconstitutional, handing a win to Gerawan Farming and employee Lupe Garcia.Mandatory Mediation and Conciliationwas signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in 2002.

The May 9, 2016 decision by the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Fresno just handed farmworker Lupe Garcia a win in his battle for constitutional rights against the United Farm Workers and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

Garcia challenged his right to attend portions of the binding formation process known… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Tax Legislation for Disabled Veterans Heads to Governor

I am pleased to announce SB 1113 (Knight), my sponsored proposal to protect disabled veterans, cleared the Assembly last week with unanimous, bipartisan support, and now awaits action by Governor Jerry Brown.

Under California law, veterans who receive a 100% disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be eligible for a property tax exemption on the value of their home up to $124,932 or $187,399 in 2014 and equivalent amounts adjusted for inflation in future years. The exemption starts on the date of disability and disabled veterans may claim a refund for up to four years of back taxes paid.

Unfortunately, due to VA backlogs, some veterans have had to wait more than four years to receive their disability rating certifications. As a result, they’ve missed out on thousands of dollars in property tax refunds to which they were entitled and anticipated receiving.

SB 1113 would increase the availability of refunds on taxes previously paid from four years to eight years, allowing veterans to receive the full benefit of their exemption,… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

‘Single Taxpayer Web Portal’ Advances

Today I testified in support of legislation by Senator Tom Harman that would direct California’s three tax agencies to work toward the goal of consolidating tax self-services into a single taxpayer-friendly website.

These difficult economic times highlight the need for government to eliminate bureaucratic red-tape that entangles businesses. Many California businesses have to file and pay taxes to three separate agencies, and taxpayers are often confused as to which agency is responsible for a particular tax: BOE, EDD or FTB.

SB 1326 would streamline this process. Under the bill’s provisions, the website www.taxes.ca.gov would be enhanced to allow taxpayers to file tax returns, claim refunds, and request for relief of interest or penalties with one login.

Taxpayers would no longer need to navigate through three separate tax agencies to access forms and information, saving taxpayers time and increasing voluntary compliance.

Just as online banking has provided individuals and businesses with easier… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Ploy to Block “Amazon Tax” Vote Outrageous

On the very day Governor Brown spoke about job creation, legislators are concocting an outrageous ploy to prevent the people from voting to overturn the ‘Amazon Tax.’

Clearly these lawmakers are afraid the public is poised and ready to vote down the failed ‘Amazon Tax’ that is costing our state jobs.

Instead of continuing their attack on out-of-state online retailers, the Governor and Legislature ought to be asking these companies how we can work with them to get Californians back to work.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Governor Should Veto “Amazon Tax”

Today I called upon Governor Jerry Brown to veto the so-called “Amazon Tax” recently approved as a budget trailer bill by the Legislature. You can read my letter below or here.

June 17, 2011

Dear Governor Brown:

I am writing to request your veto of Assembly Bill 28X (Blumenfield), the so-called “Amazon Tax.”

As an elected member of the State Board of Equalization, the agency responsible for use tax collection, I am concerned that in its hunger for revenues the California Legislature is traveling down a legally suspect and dangerous path. Rather than educate California taxpayers on their use tax obligations when making purchases from out-of-state sellers, the Legislature is stretching the definition of nexus to the point of absurdity and to the detriment of California’s economy and jobs.

Proponents of AB 28X claim it will “create fairness” by “leveling the playing field” between brick and mortar retailers and online sellers and generate $200 million in new revenues for the state. But in reality the measure… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Housing Finance Reform

Housing Finance Reform: Housing is an enormous sector of our economy. We never go into recession without housing leading us in. And, we never come out without housing recovering. Arguably, part of the reason that our current economic recovery is so tepid is because the housing recovery is very weak. When you consider the construction of new houses, the sales of existing houses, the construction and remodel and renting of apartments, the home improvement industry and so forth, it represents a tremendous amount of employment, economic activity and is fundamental to a standard of living. And, none of it moves without adequate financing. Hardly anyone buys, builds or improves a house or apartment paying cash. Pretty much everyone needs to borrow some money.

The method under which most people borrowed that money during the last 70 years was through the assistance of the “government sponsored enterprises”, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And, it worked pretty well for most of those 70 years. But, as we all well know, both enterprises failed rather spectacularly in 2008 and were a major component of the economic crash that year. The… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Pro-Taxpayer Legislation Advances

A key Senate tax committee today voted 9-0 to advance legislation I am sponsoring to empower California’s tax agencies to better assist struggling taxpayers.

The bill will help California’s job creators who are survivors of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and give tax agencies the needed flexibility to deal fairly with taxpayers who are victims of California’s economy.

More specifically, Senate Bill 228 (Wyland) would permit the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board and State Controller to “withdraw” a lien when a taxpayer pays an outstanding liability in full—removing the lien from the taxpayer’s credit record.

Under current law, when a taxpayer falls behind on payments, California’s tax agencies may place a lien on that taxpayer’s personal property.

Once a taxpayer pays the outstanding liability in full, California tax agencies may “release” the lien. However, the release does not remove the lien from a taxpayer’s credit record,… Read More