Capitol News

Latest Capitol Update – January 22, 2018

As Democratic Majority Worries About A Wealthy Exodus from California, Democratic Legislators Introduce a New Business Tax

With the passage of the federal tax bill, California Governor Jerry Brown has signaled that by cutting off deductions that benefit the wealthy, California’s richest families may decide to leave the state for better tax havens.

“People with higher incomes pay a lot more money, and some of them may be tempted to leave,” Gov. Jerry Brown said when he unveiled his 2018-19 budget proposal last week. “This was an assault by the Republicans in Congress against California.” (Adam Aston, “Wealthy Exodus to Escape New Tax Rules Worries California Democrats,” Sacramento Bee, 1/18/18)

California’s wealthiest pay 48 percent of the state income taxes and the departure of a just a few wealthy families could have a devastating impact on the state general fund.

In an effort to prevent departures, Senate pro tem Kevin de Leon introduced a bill allowing California residents to write off their state taxes on their federal returns as a charitable deduction. But officials from the Trump administration have warned that this exercise will not be allowed by the IRS and could lead to penalties.

Ignoring the governor’s concerns, two Democratic State Assembly members Kevin McCarthy (Sacramento) and Phil Ting (San Francisco) introduced an Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA 22) that would raise corporate taxes on California companies with revenues higher than $1 million.

Liam Dillion with the Los Angeles Times quoted McCarthy, “I’ve seen enough billionaire justice in the first 11 months of this presidency to last my lifetime. At a time when reckless federal tax policy favors billionaires over middle-class workers, ACA 22 will help ensure that California can continue to grow and support middle-class families throughout the state.”

The Democrats seem to be divided on how to handle the potential exodus of wealthy families, but which one will benefit California’s economy the most?


California Attorney General Threatens To Fine California Employers $10,000 Who Comply With Federal Immigration Agencies

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned California employers that his office would fine any employer $10,000 who is caught directing the federal authorities to a specific person or group of people for immigration purposes. Becerra indicated that the only way an employer is able to provide employee information is through a court order or subpoena. If neither of these were presented, the employer is engaging in unfair immigration-related practices.

Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times reporter quoted Becerra saying, “It’s important, given these rumors out there, to let people and more specifically employers know that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws they subject themselves to actions by my office … enforcing AB 450.”

Becerra also indicated that his office is preparing “to issue guidance to local agencies” about California’s new state immigration law for distribution to companies.


San Francisco Assemblyman Introduces Legislation To Ban Gas Vehicles in California by 2040

Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting (San Francisco) has introduced Assembly Bill 1745, which bans the sale of internal combustion passenger vehicles in California by 2040.

Commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds would not be affected by this legislation. Consumers who already own a gasoline-powered vehicle would not be driving illegally, but they would not be able to register any after 2040. The bill only proposes a ban on the registration of new cars or trucks that is not considered a zero-emission vehicle.

The legislation is a way for Ting to help boost electric vehicle sales in order to meet California’s car emissions goals. Critics of the ban state that the legislation hurts the middle-class and poorer motorist who may not be able to afford to buy an electric vehicle.


Tampons Tax-Free Bill Fails Again

For the third straight year, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s (D-Gardens) legislation to exempt tampons from sales taxes in California has failed.


New Harassment Legislation Gives Victims Years to File a Complaint

Assemblywomen Eloise Reyes (D-Grand Terrace), Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) and Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) introduced Assembly Bill 1870, which gives victims up to 3-years after a harassment occurs to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The current law only gives a year to file a complaint on any unlawful employment or housing practices.


Joel Fox: A Pandora’s Box: Suing Oil Companies, Consumers Pay

Some members of the Los Angeles city council hope to join San Francisco, Oakland and New York City in suing oil companies on the principle that the costs associated with climate change are a burden to the city and its taxpayers. If successful, this would open a Pandora’s box of problems for companies and the government itself. Not to mention, it would add to taxpayers’ financial burdens rather than relieving them of costs.

If the cities are banking on the idea that the lawsuit will force companies to contribute to the government coffers, they’re neglecting to realize that the taxpayers will ultimately pay the price.

The requirements for companies to participate in the cap and trade program with the goal of clearing up the environment would come with a cost, which eventually passes on to consumers. The Legislative Analyst declared that the cap and trade extension would cost consumers up to 79-cents per gallon of gas by 2031.

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California May Circumvent Feds By Imposing Healthcare Insurance Requirement

The federal penalty for those without insurance expires at the end of this year. The bad news however, uninsured California residents may still be penalized with a new proposal led by state lawmakers.

Elizabeth Aguilera with CalMatters wrote, “‘Everything they are doing at the federal level, we are doing the opposite,’ said state Sen. Ed Hernandez, an Azusa Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and plans to host a bill-pitching session next week. ‘What drives individuals to purchase on the exchange is the marketing, but also the subsidies and the health care,’ Hernandez said. ‘We are looking at every option.’”

Read Full Article Here:


Tuition at the University of California Could Rise Again

This week, the Regents of the University of California, a governing board for the university system, is expected to increase tuition and fees an extra $342, to $12,974 at their next meeting in San Francisco.

As students began protesting, UC officials were quick to point out that California undergraduates whose families make less than $80,000 pay no tuition.


Apple Announces Plan To Bring Home $252 Billion From Overseas

In a dramatic move, Apple plans to invest more than $350 billion into the US economy over the next five-years by bringing home $252 billion from overseas, building a new campus, creating more than 20,000 jobs and issuing each of its employees a bonus of $2500.

The news comes after President Donald Trump’s tax reforms contained a deep discount in repatriation taxes for “bringing cash home from overseas.”

In a statement, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said, “Apple is a success story that could only have happened in America, and we are proud to build on our long history of support for the U.S. economy. We believe deeply in the power of American ingenuity, and we are focusing our investments in areas where we can have a direct impact on job creation and job preparedness. We have a deep sense of responsibility to give back to our country and the people who help make our success possible.”