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Katy Grimes

Sacramento City Council’s Taxpayer-Funded “War on Women”

Three women in the past 18 months have filed claims against three different Sacramento City Council members. The real “War on Women” is taking place in Sacramento, in whichpowerful officeholders use a combination oftaxpayermoney and their own personal wealth to avoid any public accountability for claims against them for egregious sexual harassment and other workplace abuse towards low power women.

In 2013, a former staffer of Vice-Mayor Angelique Ashby’s sued her in federal court for wrongful termination when Ashby fired her after she requested a day off to go to a doctor’s appointment. According to court documents, Ashby was working her 67 hours a week.

In May, its was revealed that a former staffer in the city manager’s office had filed a sexual harassment claim against Mayor Kevin Johnson. The city attorney and an outside law firm hired by the city attorney,supposedly investigated. They… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Democrats Block Commonsense Legislation to Refund Illegal Taxes

If you pay an illegal tax, you deserve to get your money back. There’s no good reason the state should keep money that rightfully belongs to taxpayers.

The Democrats in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee disagree, and today they again blocked commonsense legislation to protect taxpayers. AB 867 (Wagner), which I sponsored, would have required the State of California to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared illegal or 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 or unconstitutional.

AB 867, which was supported by taxpayer advocacy groups, would have required the state to automatically issue refunds to taxpayers whose information is up to date. It also would have opened up an additional appeals period of one year after a state tax is declared illegal or unconstitutional, giving taxpayers a chance to apply for the refunds they deserve.

Assemblyman… 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

Making Life Simpler for Taxpayers

I am pleased to announce Senate Bill 582, a joint effort between my office and Senator Steve Knight, has passed both houses of the Legislature and reached the Governor’s desk.

SB 582 will make life simpler for taxpayers by requiring the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board and Employment Development Department to consider integrating their websites to better serve taxpayers. The idea is to create a one-stop shop for taxpayers to visit for all of their tax services. This will streamline filing requirements by providing taxpayers with up-to-date integrated access to accounts with all three tax agencies.

In a 2005 report the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office urged the creation of a portal that would allow a taxpayer to “log onto a single website and through a series of menus, be directed to the proper form which would allow them to file their taxes or remit a payment.” As you can see, this reform is long overdue.

It’s not easy doing business in California. One of many challenges for a business owner is the confusing… Read More

Katy Grimes

Sacto arena deal violates public policy and public trust

The dubious arena deal in Sacramento has strange bedfellows aligning. The lack of public debate, the fishy numbers put out by the city, and the deceit about the growing public subsidy has angered many voters. Now legislation by Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento would let the stadium developers avoid a real environmental impact review in order to forge ahead without public debate.

But it gets even uglier. I have written extensively about this bad “public-private deal” — a bureaucratic expression which should always generate skepticism.

The Steinberg bill, which will be formally introduced today, would allow the city to bypass addressing real traffic impacts in its Environmental Impact Report on the arena project. According to several analysts I’ve spoken with, the bill… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Success of Budget Hinges on Taxpayer Decisions

The Legislature should be commended for approving an on-time budget and exercising some measure of restraint.

However, the success of this budget hinges on the decisions of a very small number of overtaxed Californians, their continued presence in California and their success in the stock market.

According to the Franchise Tax Board, the highest one percent of income earners will pay more than $2 billion less in 2013 than 2012. That’s not surprising. A recent survey found 75 percent of affluent Californians are planning actions to reduce their tax liabilities—and a quarter are considering moving out-of-state.

It’s troubling that the volatile personal income tax accounts for 63 percent of budget revenue. Just one percent of California taxpayers now provide nearly half of all income tax payments the state receives.

You can’t tax your way to prosperity. To create true budget stability, California must attract jobs and investment to our state rather than drive them away.… Read More

Katy Grimes

A kinder, gentler, gender-neutral state

Have you noticed the press releases from legislators at the state Capitol are all gender-neutral? Lawmakers and staff refer to each other as “Assembly members,” and not “Assemblywoman” or “Assemblyman.”

And even more ridiculously, the don’t refer to a Committee head as a “Chairwoman” or “Chairman;” they call each other “Chair.”

Washington state is taking this gender-neutral form of speaking to a new level. “In Washington state, dairymen, freshmen and even penmanship could soon be things of the past,” Fox News reported.

Attempts to fix language are misguided to the point of absurdity. Remember “huperson,” “woperson,” “personslaughter” and “personhole” covers?

Former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin became the butt of jokes for her attempt to rename manhole covers, “personhole” covers.

New lingo

Washington state officials have spent the last six years changing language in the law books of the state, as the AP photo above shows. But gender-neutral language is ungrammatical, and not allowed in AP Style.

“So while the state has already welcomed ‘firefighters,’… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

‘Single Taxpayer Web Portal’ Advances

Today I testified in support of legislation by Senator Tom Harman that would direct California’s three tax agencies to work toward the goal of consolidating tax self-services into a single taxpayer-friendly website.

These difficult economic times highlight the need for government to eliminate bureaucratic red-tape that entangles businesses. Many California businesses have to file and pay taxes to three separate agencies, and taxpayers are often confused as to which agency is responsible for a particular tax: BOE, EDD or FTB.

SB 1326 would streamline this process. Under the bill’s provisions, the website www.taxes.ca.gov would be enhanced to allow taxpayers to file tax returns, claim refunds, and request for relief of interest or penalties with one login.

Taxpayers would no longer need to navigate through three separate tax agencies to access forms and information, saving taxpayers time and increasing voluntary compliance.

Just as online banking has provided individuals and businesses with easier… Read More

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