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BOE Member George Runner

Tax Legislation for Disabled Veterans Heads to Governor

I am pleased to announce SB 1113 (Knight), my sponsored proposal to protect disabled veterans, cleared the Assembly last week with unanimous, bipartisan support, and now awaits action by Governor Jerry Brown.

Under California law, veterans who receive a 100% disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be eligible for a property tax exemption on the value of their home up to $124,932 or $187,399 in 2014 and equivalent amounts adjusted for inflation in future years. The exemption starts on the date of disability and disabled veterans may claim a refund for up to four years of back taxes paid.

Unfortunately, due to VA backlogs, some veterans have had to wait more than four years to receive their disability rating certifications. As a result, they’ve missed out on thousands of dollars in property tax refunds to which they were entitled and anticipated receiving.

SB 1113 would increase the availability of refunds on taxes previously paid from four years to eight years, allowing veterans to receive the full benefit of their exemption,… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Move Workers Out of Board of Equalization Building Before Someone Gets Hurt

As seen in the Sacramento Bee

Sacramento residents who recently witnessed the successful Fix50 project must wonder why government can’t also find a way to deal with other problems in an equally swift and efficient manner. Take, for instance, the troubled government building at 450 N St. in downtown Sacramento, just blocks away from the future Kings arena.

Falling windows, leaking sewage pipes, mold and methane gas are but a few of many safety problems plaguing the state Board of Equalization headquarters in recent years. The Sacramento Bee’s Jon Ortiz has done an excellent job of chronicling the ongoing saga in his State Worker column.

Recently we’ve learned that the building’s fire safety system has also failed, forcing an hourly fire safety walk until repairs are made. Additionally, employees have filed a $50 million claim with the state alleging health problems stemming from the mold contamination. More glass could fall at any time, so the 24-story building remains surrounded by scaffolding. A 2012 incident, captured on security videotape, shows a pedestrian mere feet away from being struck by a glass panel that fell from… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Tax Help for California Seniors

Senior citizens deserve to enjoy the rewards of their life’s work, but rising taxes and inflation leave many feeling squeezed.

California seniors know about discounts at restaurants and the movies, but they may not be familiar with the tax benefits and services available to them. For example, many seniors qualify for property tax exemptions, income tax credits and free income tax preparation.

That’s why I created the new Tax Help for California Seniors webpage. This online resource provides helpful information and links designed to help seniors be aware of important tax tips relating to property tax, sales and use tax and income tax.

Please take a look at this new online resource and consider sharing it with your family and friends who are seniors.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Upcoming Telephone Townhall for Manufacturing Industry

On Tuesday, July 1 at 10:00 a.m. I will be hosting a telephone townhall for California’s manufacturers. The free event, co-hosted by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, will provide information on tax issues specific to the manufacturing industry, including the new manufacturing sales tax exemption that takes effect July 1, 2014.

The manufacturing sector employs more than one million Californians and adds more than $200 billion to our economy every year. My goal is to help manufacturers understand California’s complicated tax laws and ensure they are aware of the valuable new tax incentive available to them.

Those wishing to participate may register online at or by calling 916-445-3032.

Individuals who pre-register will receive a telephone call at the start of the event inviting them to connect to the townhall. During the event, callers will have an opportunity to ask questions.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Video of Near Tragedy at Board of Equalization Building

Today I released security camera footage showing a pedestrian nearly struck by falling glass in a January 2012 incident at the Board of Equalization’s downtown Sacramento high-rise.

View video

As the video shows, this building is a safety risk for both state workers and the public. In addition to falling glass, we’ve experienced toxic mold, leaking sewage pipes, methane gas, water leaks and more. It will cost millions more to address these problems, and it’s impossible to do so expeditiously while the building is occupied.

That’s why I’m calling on Governor Jerry Brown to back an effort to move the Board of Equalization out of its problem-plagued headquarters in downtown Sacramento.

The state has been wasting millions of taxpayer dollars throwing good money at a bad building. It’s time for the Governor to finally solve this problem by moving everyone out of that building to a new location.

Located in my district, the 24-story headquarters building at 450 N Street is designed to house… Read More

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

BOE Member George Runner

Fire Fee Update: A Bad Tax Gets Worse

The fire fee is a bad tax, not just because of the unnecessary burden it places on taxpayers, but because it is horribly inefficient to collect. From the beginning, the process of collecting the Fire Prevention Fee has been lengthy and expensive, proving it is a poor method for funding CAL-FIRE’s fire prevention efforts.

Unfortunately, this month the third round of Fire Prevention Fee bills began going out with the new rate of $152.33 (or $117.33 for the 97% who live in a local fire protection district). This set of bills will be for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Approximately 10,000 bills will be sent each day in alphabetical order by county. This marks the first time the BOE has sent two billings in the same fiscal year.

Remember, in order to be eligible for a refund under the lawsuit against the fire fee, property owners must protest every billing by timely filing a new Petition for Redetermination.

You can find a copy of the billing schedule at

Keep up with all the latest fire fee news by following onRead More

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