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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Let the People Decide Amazon Tax

Democrat lawmakers are protesting a proposed referendum on California’s new “Amazon Tax” law. But keep in mind that this issue isn’t about Amazon. It’s about the thousands of California jobs the “Amazon Tax” places in jeopardy.

The lawmakers who authored the ‘Amazon Tax’ should be ashamed to appear in public. Their law has failed to achieve their goals. Instead it is punishing thousands of California small business affiliates who are losing income and may even be forced to leave the state.

The Legislature should admit its mistake and repeal the Amazon Tax. But short of that, the fastest way to save California jobs is through a referendum rather than years of costly litigation. Let the people engage in the debate and decide the issue for themselves.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Qualified Purchasers Survey

The “Qualified Purchasers Program” was created by the State Legislature, when it approved Assembly Bill X4 18 in 2009. I was serving as a Senator at the time and voted against the legislation. I continue to believe this new use tax collection program is a costly mistake.

To date BOE has identified more than 500,000 businesses as “qualified purchasers” and has automatically registered many of them with a “use tax” account. A qualified purchaser is defined as a service enterprise with more than $100,000 in gross receipts per calendar year that is not already registered with the Board of Equalization.

Most people are understandably confused about ‘use tax.’” The use tax applies to all Californians when you purchase items from a retailer who is not located in California and not registered to remit tax to California. Prior to the creation of the Qualified Purchaser Program, there were already two different ways for Californians to report use tax—(1) BOE Form 79b and (2) a dedicated line on state income tax forms.

My review of this new… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Jerry Brown Signs Away Affiliate Jobs

Even as Governor Jerry Brown lifted his pen today to sign the so-called “Amazon Tax” into law, thousands of affiliates across California were losing their jobs.

Major out-of-state retailers like Amazon.com and Overstock.com are terminating their California affiliate advertising programs in response to this legislation. I’ve been warning for months that this would happen, but apparently these warnings fell on deaf ears.

The so-called ‘Amazon tax’ is truly a lose-lose proposition for California. Not only won’t we see the promised revenues, we’ll actually lose income tax revenue as affiliates move to other states.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

A Budget Without Jobs Won’t Work

Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are hoping that a surge in new revenues will help them avoid triggering additional budget cuts.

But it’s hard to imagine their budget numbers working when California is racing to become the nation’s unemployment leader.

We need jobs to spur revenues, but burdensome taxes, fees and regulations continue to hold back California’s economic recovery. The Governor and Legislature need to wake up to the reality that their economic policies are destroying California’s competitiveness.

If the Governor and Legislature want to see growth in revenues, they need to get Californians back to work. We need to bring private sector jobs back to California instead of driving them away.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Democrat Budget A Sham to Keep Legislators’ Paychecks Flowing

Make no mistake, the Democrats’ budget isn’t about solving California’s fiscal problems—it’s only goal is to ensure lawmakers keep their paychecks flowing.

When voters last fall granted Democrats their wish of majority-vote budgets, they demanded lawmakers forfeit their pay if those budgets are not approved on-time. But it was never the voters’ intention for lawmakers to approve a sham budget simply to keep their paychecks coming.

What’s worse is that to protect their own pay, Democrats are poised to sacrifice the paychecks of thousands of California small businesses known as affiliates. Up to 25,000 of these Internet entrepreneurs will lose their affiliate status if Democrats approve a so-called ‘Amazon tax.’ According to the Board of Equalization’s analysis, ‘termination of affiliate programs would have an adverse impact on state employment’ and ‘lead to lower revenues.’

The dumbest idea of all is the Democrats’ plan to sell state buildings for one-time revenue. If lawmakers want real one-time dollars, they should consider my proposals to raise billions in revenue by (1) granting an interest and penalty holiday to spur… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Interest and Penalties Holiday Would Help Struggling Taxpayers and State Coffers

Today I called upon the Governor and Legislature to enact a six month interest and penalty holiday to help struggling small business owners and other taxpayers who have fallen behind on tax payments during the recent economic downturn.

The state’s job is to collect taxes, not penalties and interest. Too often heavy penalties and punitive interest charges actually make it more difficult for struggling taxpayers to catch up on late payments. If we want more jobs, we need to help California’s job creators get back on their feet.

Instead of increasing taxes or cutting vital programs, we ought to learn from the experience of other states where these programs have successfully raised millions of dollars. I believe a California program would generate several billion dollars of revenues for state and local government.

A tax interest and penalty holiday would be a win-win for both California’s job creators and state coffers.

Below is the text of my letter.You can find mypress release here.

June 10,… Read More

Jon Fleischman

Legislators Crashing Taxpayer-Leased Vehicles

Over on the venerable Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert blog, they have posted up an easy to read spreadsheet of all of the claims paid by the State of California as a result of accidents with state-leased vehicles assigned to legislators. In many instances the claims indicate that a spouse or child of the legislator was behind the wheel. Nice.

The link is here. Check it out.

It’s just as well Governor Brown has decided to just ask the legislature to increase taxes, without waiting for a vote of the people. Because I can only imagine the cynicism of the electorate as they absorb the fact that California is the only state in the country where legislators get state-leased vehicles (let along two — yes, unless the legislator drives to work from nearby, there is a second state-leased vehicle parked under the Capitol for the use of each legislator).… Read More

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