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Katy Grimes

California’s business ‘leakage’ becoming a deluge

The list of businesses leaving California for greener pastures is long and growing. And now we can add Toyota to it.

The word ‘leakage’ is the new politically correct term used by legislators, the Governor, bureaucrats and the California Air Resources Board, to describe what happens when California businesses leave the state because of tax increases and stupendous regulations… as if any of them really know what it means for a business to make the difficult decision to close a location, terminate hundreds of employees, and physically move equipment, machinery, offices and records. And, the CEOmust figure in the cost of business interruption, as a business’s productivity will be undoubtedly be reduced after a move.

Who is “leaking?”

Apparently California is ‘leaking’ businesses… as if businesses and middle class families are dribbling away, or just accidentally… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California Returning Millions to Business Owners

This spring thousands of business owners throughout California are receiving a welcome surprise in their mailbox. Rather than a notice of a new tax, fee or audit, they’re getting a check from the State Board of Equalization.

No, we’re not talking about annual income tax refunds from the Franchise Tax Board. These checks are marked “SECURITY REFUND” and represent a dramatic shift in how California’s elected tax board welcomes new businesses to our state.

Previously new corporations and LLCs were forced by the BOE to turn over anywhere from $2000 to $50,000 of their own money as security before they could make a single legal taxable sale. This “security” was held just in case a business might default on its taxes during its first three years of operation.

It was a uniquely California-style shake down. Rather than encourage new business start-ups, the government robbed them of the capital they needed to be successful, only to sit on it for three years before returning it.

I took a close look at the program and found it didn’t make sense for taxpayers or the state. Security was rarely applied, and staff time and energy were needlessly… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Runner Sponsors Legislation to Refund Illegal Taxes

It is criminal that the State of California can keep money it illegally collects from its citizens. Anyone who in good faith pays what ends up being an illegal tax should get their money back. It’s as simple as that.

That’s why this legislative session, I am proud to be sponsoring legislation to extend common sense protections to taxpayers. Two identical measures, AB 2510 (Wagner) and SB 1327 (Knight), would require the state to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared unconstitutional.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all their administrative appeals remedies, even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal. AB 2510 and SB 1327 would require the state to automatically issue refunds to taxpayers whose information is up to date. It would also open up an additional appeals period of one year after a state tax is declared unconstitutional, giving taxpayers a chance to… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Look Twice Before Filing Your State Income Taxes

Californians who sold their home in a short sale in 2013 may be at risk of overpaying their state income taxes.

As you may recall, the Franchise Tax Board informed me late last year that Californians who had mortgage debt forgiven in a short sale are not required to pay income tax on that debt.

I’ve recently learned that some tax preparation software may not be up to date, potentially forcing affected Californians to pay taxes they don’t owe. Adding to the confusion, some tax preparers may not be aware of this problem.

If you have questions, please contact my office at 1-916-445-2181. For more information on mortgage forgiveness debt relief and short sales, go to FTB’s webpage or call FTB at 1-800-852-5711.

If you are unsure whether your tax preparation software is calculating your short sale correctly, you should contact the tax preparation software company’s customer service department for assistance.

Taxpayers should never have to pay more taxes than they owe. Be sure to look carefully before filing to avoid overpaying… Read More

Congressman John Campbell

Government Shutdown: Day 4

Government Shutdown Day 4: This morning, with no let-up in sight on the part of the House, Senate or President Obama, here are some new factoids about the matters at hand…with only a little commentary added (-:

The House has now passed and sent 9 bills to the Senate that would either completely or partially re-open the government. Harry Reid has refused to let the Senate vote on a single one of them. Harry Reid has sent the House one single proposal in all that time. 57 House Democrats have joined every House Republican in voting for all or some of those 9 bills. That’s over one-quarter of all the House Democrats that have supported all or at least one of the Republican proposed solutions. Similar support from Senate Democrats would guarantee passage in the Senate. But, votes have not been allowed in the Senate on these bills. Speaking of Democratic support for Republican solutions, click HERE to view a chart that tracks party defections vote-by-vote on each funding bill before the … Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Gas Tax Hike Based on Guesswork

A 3.5 cent per gallon increase in California’s excise tax on gasoline takes effect July 1. As a result Californians will be forced to begin paying the highest gas taxes in the nation.

You have a right to be angry and demand explanation from your elected officials.

I too am upset and frustrated by this tax increase, which stems from a complicated law known as the ‘fuel tax swap.’

The goal of the fuel tax swap wasn’t good tax policy. Instead, its sole purpose was to allow the Legislature to move more than a billion dollars in gas tax revenues into the state’s General Fund.

I voted against the fuel tax swap. I also voted against the 3.5 cent per gallon rate increase that takes effect July 1.

Although the Board of Equalization must implement the law as written, a certain amount of discretion comes into play. Most of the July 1 increase is based on uncertain projections of future gas prices.

I don’t think we should be in the business of raising taxes based on guesswork.

A video of Runner questioningRead More

BOE Member George Runner

Obama Steals Jerry Brown’s Playbook

Given California’s chronic problems, it’s hard to imagine anyone sees our state as a model. But it’s clear the Obama administration does. And to make matters worse, President Obama is now using schemes from California’s playbook in his bid to impose our failures on the rest of the nation.

Much like Sacramento, Washington is mired in gridlock. The budget never really gets done and politicians seem to stumble from one crisis to the next. Like California Governor Jerry Brown, President Obama lacks the ability to forge true bipartisan consensus to solve problems.

Of course, there’s a… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Will Fire Fee 2.0 Be Six Times Worse?

Better late than never, California lawmakers seem to be waking up to the reality that the illegal “Fire Prevention Fee” they enacted nearly two years ago is a complete fiasco. Even so, they are refusing to repeal it. Instead they are scheming up ways to replace the tax with yet another tax that’s even bigger than the first.

Where else but Sacramento would someone think the answer to a bad tax is to replace it with one even worse?

Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, who represents many rural taxpayers on California’s North Coast, is leading the charge to reinvent and expand the fire fee. His proposal (AB 468) would replace the fire fee with a 4.8 percent “surcharge” on all insured homeowners and businesses in the State of California, regardless of location.

A similar concept was proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2009 but was rejected by the Legislature.

These payments, averaging $48 per policy and totaling an estimated $480 million per year, would find their way to a “Disaster Management, Preparedness, and Assistance Fund.” The fund would benefit bureaucracies, like Cal Fire, that are involved in the state’s disaster preparedness… Read More

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