Sacramento – Senate Democrats last week voted to pass Assembly Bill 1086 (D-Wieckowski, Fremont), despite objections from Senate Republicans that the bill will only weigh down economic growth and further hurt working families.
AB 1086 would allow Alameda County to place on the November 6, 2012 ballot a measure asking voters to approve a one-half percent sales and use tax (SUT) increase to support transportation programs, even though if it passes, the county’s total combined SUT percentage would then exceed the state limit of two percent maximum. The tax would run through 2014.
“California’s combined state and local tax rate is already the second highest in the nation,” said Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar). “We can’t keep saddling businesses and, by extension, consumers, with more and more taxes. Incrementally, it seems a small amount, but the hikes keep coming and they keep adding up. It begs the question, when is ‘more’ simply ‘too much’?”
The taxpayer advocacy group CalTax states that if this bill passes and Alameda County is allowed to exceed the local SUT limit, California will have the highest combined tax rate in the nation. It also points out that the increase would distort the uniformity of the tax base, leading to confusion for business and consumers.
“Today, Alameda County wants a waiver for more taxes, tomorrow it’ll be Los Angeles County. This bill sets a bad precedent,” says Huff. “How is an employer supposed to plan a budget that includes hiring folks when they’re never sure if some new tax is going to pop up? That instability undermines economic recovery and kills job creation. We simply cannot justify increased taxation upon hard working families.”
AB 1086 now goes to the governor’s desk. The governor has not indicated whether or not he will sign the bill, but in his second inaugural address stated that, “Government, no less than the individual, must live within limits … must manifest a self-discipline that spreads across the other institutions in our society, so that we can begin to work for the future, not just consume the present.”
Senate Republicans continue to press for a bipartisan jobs package. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats continue to pass legislation that does nothing for the two million Californians out of work. Actions speak louder than words.
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