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BOE Member George Runner

Government Has More Than Enough of Your Dollars

After years of debt, deficits and budget cuts, it may come as a surprise to learn that our state government is flush with cash. But you wouldn’t know it by the talk of tax increases coming out of Sacramento.

First the facts:

California is outspending other states – As the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters recently reported, census data shows California state spending jumped 7.5% last fiscal year and is well above average when compared to other states. The Governor’s proposed budget is huge – In January, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a $113 billion budget proposal—the largest ever in California state history. If there’s any criticism of the Governor’s budget so far, it’s that he is underestimating revenues. The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently reported that current fiscal year revenues alone will exceed the Governor’s forecast by $1 to $2 billion or more. California taxes are really, really high – Californians pay some of the highest income, sales and gas taxes in the nation. According to the Tax Foundation, many small businesses face top marginal tax rates … Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Response to Budget Passage

Legislators can congratulate themselves on approving an on-time budget. Although this budget contains large spending increases, thankfully it does not raise taxes.

What’s missing is the broad-based tax relief we need to spur jobs and stimulate growth across our entire economy.

In addition, the Legislature missed yet another opportunity to defund the bullet train and eliminate the fire tax.

The Governor should wield his veto pen aggressively to trim wasteful spending. We can and should do more to pay down debt and bolster our rainy day fund.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California’s Revenue Roller Coaster

The constitutional deadline is just two weeks away and the Governor and Legislature are busy negotiating the state’s next budget. With Democrats now holding enough seats in the Legislature to pass the budget without Republican input, we can expect a budget that reflects their priorities and grows the size of the government. Fortunately for them, budget revenues this year are exceeding expectations and multi-billion budget deficits appear to be a thing of the past—at least for now.

As you can see in the graph, California’s “roller… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

October Sales Tax Collections Strong

Some good news for the State of California…

The State Board of Equalization collected $1.86 billion in general fund sales and use tax revenue last month, surpassing the state’s $1.74 billion budget estimate.

The state’s year-to-date general fund sales and use tax revenues are now meeting projections. From July 1 through October 31, the state received $6.5 billion in revenue, narrowly exceeding the state’s budget projection.

October’s revenues came from sales taking place prior to the gas price spike of early October. Retailers must file returns monthly, quarterly or annually depending on the size of their business.

Let’s hope that stronger tax revenues are a reflection of a recovering economy rather than merely the result of higher prices.

Read More

BOE Member George Runner

I Applaud the Howard Jarvis Fire Tax Lawsuit

Today, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a class action lawsuit against Jerry Brown and the Legislature to overturn the unconstitutional Fire Tax.

As one of California’s elected tax officials, it’s my responsibility to use my elected office to ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly.

Accordingly, I commend the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for bringing together Californians from every walk of life and region of our state to right the wrong that is the fire tax.

The Governor and Legislature’s willingness to impose such an unfair and regressive tax in direct violation of the Constitution should serve as a wake-up call for all freedom-loving Californians.

I am pleased to lend my full support to this lawsuit, and I look forward to seeing it prevail.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Budget Will Be Decided by Voters

The Governor must act on the budget by midnight today. If he had the courage, he would send it back and demand the Legislature send him a fully vetted plan that is truly balanced, contains real reform and spurs job creation in our state.

The truth is that California won’t have a real budget until November. That’s when voters will decide whether to embrace or reject the billions in higher taxes the budget assumes.

Should taxes fail, the budget calls for billions in ‘trigger cuts’ to education funding. I suspect these ‘trigger cuts’ are little more than a head fake aimed at scaring overtaxed Californians into taxing themselves even more.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Leaders Should Consider Amazon Jobs Proposal

I sent a letter to theGovernor and legislative leaders todayurging them to consider aproposal by Amazon.com that would bring an estimated 7,000 jobs to California. I also asked them to re-evaluate the projected budget revenue associated with the “Amazon Tax” (AB 28X).

Read my letter here.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

July Sales Tax Revenue Surpassed Projections

Although I continue to remain deeply concerned about California’s economic recovery, I’m pleased to report that our state’s budget picture—at least when it comes to sales tax—isn’t quite as bleak as it might seem.

On Tuesday, the State Controller reported that sales and use tax general fund revenues for the month of July were $977.6 million, 12.5% below the Department of Finance projection of $1.12 billion.

However, BOE actually received $1.64 billion in July, more than half a billion dollars above the budget projection cited by the Controller.

The competing revenue numbers are the result of two different methods of accounting. As required by statute, the Controller looks at “money in the bank,” which does not include pending deposits. BOE numbers reflect “money in the door,” which includes all payments—including those received but not yet deposited.

The last few days of July saw more than $600 million in sales tax revenue received by BOE. These dollars were not included in the Controller’s report because they had not yet been deposited into state coffers. Retail… Read More

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