FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

- Or -
Search blog archive

BOE Member George Runner

If the Government Takes Your Money Illegally, Shouldn’t You Get it Back?

Did you know, if the State of California takes your money in the form of an illegal tax or fee, you might not be able to get it back?

I was outraged when I first learned if a taxpayer pays a tax or fee that is later found to be unconstitutional or illegal in court, the government does not necessarily have to refund their money.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all of their “administrative appeals remedies,” even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal or unconstitutional.

In order for taxpayers to exhaust their “administrative appeals remedies” they must file a timely refund claim with the proper agency. The time period to file a refund claim is different for each tax and fee program, ranging anywhere from 30 days to several years.

That’s right; your state government will keep any and all money it illegally took from you, unless you have already jumped through several confusing administrative hoops – even hoops that you were never aware of.

That’s why this legislative session, I am proud to sponsor legislation to change this situation by extending important, common sense… 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

Katy Grimes

AD73: Bryson Campaign Tries To Obfuscate Court Loss With Rhetoric

When one must ask “what is the definition of ‘false and misleading’? in a political campaign,” it is is evident Assembly District 73′s Anna Brysonis twisting and contorting a legal ruling against her into something that it just is not.

As many voters have grown cynical about the veracity of political candidates and politicians, sometimes “false and misleading” statements go too far. Legal mincing and parsing of words brings back former President Bill Clinton’s notorious 1998 statement to a grand jury about the Monica Lewinski affair, “It depends on what the meaning ‘is’ is.”

It’s deja vu all over again withAssembly District 73′s Anna Bryson Campaign.

The heart of the matter

At the heart of a recent issue of this nature is an official campaign… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California’s Gas Tax Nightmare

California taxpayers don’t have to fall sleep to have a nightmare. They experience one each and every day when they encounter a costly, confusing and constantly-changing tax system. Unfortunately, most efforts to change this system only make matters worse.

Take the gas tax, for instance.

California consumers currently pay 71 cents per gallon in taxes every time they fill up their tanks. That’s the highest gas tax rate in the country. The average American pays less—about 50 cents per gallon. That translates into hundreds of dollars a year in higher taxes for Californians.

Adding insult to injury, Californians are double taxed for gas. Sales tax is calculated after excise taxes have already been added. That means we pay a tax on a tax, which is just plain wrong.

Double taxation aside, most California motorists wouldn’t mind paying high gas taxes if it meant we could drive the nation’s finest roads. But that’s not how things work. Instead of seeing our tax dollars invested wisely, we’re constantly told we should pay more. Our freeway system, once the envy of the world, has become an embarrassment.

Further complicating matters, in… 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

Katy Grimes

Judge rules against taxpayer groups in arena subsidy initiative

Delusions of grandeur drive the proponents of a downtown sports arena in Sacramento.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley ruled against two taxpayers groups in Sacramento, to place the proposed public subsidy for the new basketballarena before the city’s voters. Judge Frawley said the taxpayer groups made such significant errors in the wording of their petitions, the petitions, and 23,000 signatures supporting the effort, are not valid.

This is how The Sacramento Bee, which has been openly advocating for the arena subsidy, reported it: “The lawsuit, meanwhile, was funded by an agribusinessman who lives just outside the city limits and a group of nonunion electrical contractors angry that the arena is going to be built almost exclusively with… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Telephone Townhall for the Agricultural Industry

On Tuesday, March 4 at 10:00 a.m. I will be partnering with the California Farm Bureau Foundation, to host a Telephone Townhall on tax issues specific to the agricultural industry.

Central Valley Senators Anthony Cannella and Andy Vidak will also join the call. Senator Cannella serves as the Vice Chairman of both the Senate Agriculture and Senate Natural Resources and Water Committees. In addition to his legislative duties, Senator Vidak is a farmer and rancher, growing cherries in Kings County and raising cattle in Tulare County.

Every day, farmers and ranchers face challenges with tax laws in the state of California. The laws can be complicated and, at times, confusing and taxpayers can face stiff penalties and interest if deadlines aren’t met and record keeping isn’t accurate.

Most taxpayers want to do the right thing but even the most savvy business owner can make mistakes. The tele-townhall will address such topics as sales and use tax, partial farming exemptions, and sales of feed and animals.

Better understanding of tax laws allows farmers, ranchers, and business owners selling to the agricultural industry to spend less time concerning… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Gas Tax Cut is Good News for California

Today, I joined my fellow Board of Equalization members in a 5-0 vote to lower the gasoline excise tax 3.5 cents per gallon as of July 1, 2014.

Our vote today is good news for California taxpayers. This much-needed tax relief will arrive as Californians are on the road for summer vacations.

Lower gas taxes are good for our economy and good for jobs, but even with this cut Californians will continue to pay one of the highest gas taxes in the nation.

Unfortunately, some in the Legislature want you to pay more taxes, rather than less. Just last week a leading lawmaker proposed raising your gas tax by up to 43 cents per gallon.

Rather than plotting to raise taxes at a time when the state is already awash in cash, lawmakers should be finding ways to simplify our tax laws and make life easier for California taxpayers.

Lawmakers could start by scrapping the confusing and complicated gas tax formula they enacted in 2010 and replacing it with one that is simple, straightforward and easy to understand.… Read More

Page 1 of 1412345...10...Last »