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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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BOE Member George Runner

Revenue Report Dangerous in the Wrong Hands

At the request of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, the Board of Equalization’s Research and Statistics Section today released a report showing the State of California could reap up to $122.6 billion by imposing sales and use tax on services.

The size and scope of California’s service-related industry is mind-blowingly large, and the last thing overtaxed Californians need is another tax. In fact, these numbers are dangerous in the hands of legislators who want to raise taxes.

However, I hope this report stimulates conversation about how taxes can be simpler, and how we can attract more jobs to our state.

Although I strongly oppose Senate Bill 8 (Hertzberg), which would impose a $10 billion tax increase on service industries, I am open to considering a broader sales tax if it’s part of revenue neutral tax reform, such as abolishing the Franchise Tax Board and California’s income tax, along with other taxes that destroy jobs.

I’ve called for dynamic economic modeling that would show the benefits of such a change and look forward to being able to share those results with you… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California Needs a Simpler Gas Tax, Not a Higher One

My latest op-ed as seen in The Sacramento Bee.

With prices at the pump heading back up, news of a possible cut to the state’s gas tax will surely cheer California drivers.

On Tuesday, the State Board of Equalization will consider a proposal to cut the state’s gas tax by 7.5 cents a gallon. The proposal stems from a complicated formula enacted by the Legislature in 2010.

While California drivers will surely welcome news of a possible cut, there are some who would rather see gas taxes go up. They think you should be sending more dollars, not fewer, to Sacramento.

But let’s be honest, government already has more than enough of your dollars. Californians pay about 64 cents per gallon in taxes and fees – the second-highest rate in the nation. In reality, we have the nation’s highest gas tax once you include the new hidden gas tax imposed by regulators to help fund the state’s anti-global-warming efforts.

Californians must even pay taxes on their taxes. That’s double taxation – and it’s wrong.

California’s gas tax is so confusing… Read More