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taxes

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno passed a Parks Master Plan in January. The plan outlines the city’s goals to maintain and improve existing parks, and add more to the system. But over the years, the city’s parks budget has decreased. A new coalition hopes their efforts will put new life into parks, with a tax.

 

nickchapman / Flickr - Creative Commons

While the stock market is up, many cities in the valley are still struggling. Bakersfield perhaps faces the biggest cash crunch, as rising costs tied to health care and retirement expenses have coincided with a countywide economy that is struggling due to a decline in activity in the oil industry. One city projection indicates the city could face a $5 million deficit next year, growing to around $15 million in five years. Now the city council is considering what to do about the shortfall, and that could include a tax increase.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders have a huge challenge this week: Convince all but one Democrat in the California Legislature to vote for new fuel tax increases and vehicle fees to repair the state's crumbling roads and highways, an incredibly unpopular vote.

To tell us more about the deal Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler joined KVPR's Ezra David Romero on Valley Edition. Take a listen to the interview below.

Drivers in Fresno are expressing a largely negative view about the tax. Among them is truck driver Abraham Baec.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Visalia City Council is set to take up debate tonight whether to send a sales tax increase to voters this November. The half-cent tax on retail sales would bring in about $10 million a year to help fund public safety, road and facilities maintenance.

It would be in addition to Measure T, an existing voter-approved sales tax that funds law enforcement in the city. Because the new tax would not be dedicated for any one specific use, it only requires a simple majority to pass.

Megafires Don't Melt Opposition To California Fire Fee

Sep 17, 2015
Mike McMillan / US Forest Service

Rural Californians are reeling from yet another destructive fire season.

But that doesn’t mean they now support a controversial fire fee imposed several years ago by legislative Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown. Chris Nichols reports from Sacramento.

Bags stuffed with Betsy Miller’s family photos and quilting fabric sit ready to go in her Sierra foothills home. Miller and her husband, Les, are retirees who live in Amador County. The Butte Fire forced them to evacuate last week. Now, they’re back home. But they’re not unpacking.

Brown Now "Open" To New Taxes Without Voter Approval

Jun 18, 2015

California Governor Jerry Brown says he’s changed his position on taxes now that he’s been elected to another term. He says he’s open to new taxes that would fund road maintenance and health coverage for low-income Californians. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Brown in 2010 TV ad: “I’m Jerry Brown. California needs major changes…”

It was a core promise of his 2010 campaign:

Brown in 2010 TV ad: “…and no new taxes without voter approval.”

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

In 2004, an initiative called Measure Z saved Fresno's Chaffee Zoo.  The voter-­approved measure allowed for an increase in county sales tax by one tenth of one percent.  Those 10 cents from every $100 spent in Fresno County prevented the zoo from raising its entry fees, while allowing it to make crucial repairs and add new exhibits, like Sea Lion Cove and African Adventure.

Low-Income Californians Pay More State and Local Taxes Says Study

Apr 11, 2014
Valley Public Radio

A new report says adjustments to Proposition 30 and other tax policy changes could improve the situation for low-income Californians who pay a disproportionate share of their income in taxes.  From Sacramento, Max Pringle reports.

The California Budget Project says the bottom 20 percent of Californians pay more than 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while earning about $13,000 a year on average. The top one percent pay just under nine percent. They earn an average $1.5 million dollars per year. Luke Reidenbach is a Budget Project analyst.

Valley Public Radio

California revenues are off to a slow start in the new budget year.

The state controller’s office says they came in six percent below projections for the month of July.  Disappointing personal income tax proceeds offset slight gains in sales and corporate tax revenues.

Governor Jerry Brown convinced lawmakers to use his more conservative projections in this year’s budget.  Democratic leaders had pushed for more optimistic estimates.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation to overhaul a controversial tax break for companies that hire workers in low-income communities.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on that and some of the other bills Brown signed today.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The price at the pump goes up today/Monday in California – by 3 ½ cents per gallon of gasoline.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, that’s because of a particularly complex part of an old state budget deal.

California tax law is full of confusing formulas with colorful names, like the triple flip and the single sales factor.  Here, we’re talking about something called the gas tax swap.  It stems from the 2010 budget deal in the heart of the recession. 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is proposing drastic changes to California’s Enterprise Zone program in his latest budget. The zones are located in blighted areas and businesses operating within them can claim tax credits from the state.

Craig Johnson is President of the California Association of Enterprise Zones. He says Brown’s changes would essentially eliminate the state’s 40 Enterprise Zones. He says the state already has high taxes and high regulations and eliminating tax credits won’t help.

Democrats Pushing to Limit Prop 13

May 16, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

Some Democrats at the Capitol are attempting to chip away at California’s fabled Prop 13. But supporters of the property tax limiting measure are digging in to fight back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 13 limits property taxes in California. But it also requires a two-thirds vote of the public to increase any special taxes. Six Democratic sponsored bills making their way through the Senate would lower that voter requirement to 55 percent approval.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year, and less overall spending next year. 

His spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July includes about $1.3 billion less than his January proposal.  Brown says the state’s economic picture has weakened due to the federal sequester and the federal payroll tax change.

“We have climbed out of a hole with a Proposition 30 tax. That is good, but this is not the time to break out the champagne,” says Brown.

Valley Public Radio

California tax revenues ended the month of March about 7 percent above estimates in the Governor’s budget. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the state controller’s office says April’s numbers will reveal far more about California’s fiscal health. 

Revenues in March were $395 million  above the Governor’s budget estimates. That puts total revenues for the fiscal year more than 4-billion above estimates so far. But April will be key for the state as income tax deposits continue to roll in.  

New Year, New Taxes Thanks to Props 30, 39

Jan 2, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

California taxes are going up in the new year – with higher sales and income tax rates … and a new requirement for out-of-state businesses to calculate their taxes the same way in-state businesses do.  

In November, voters approved two ballot measures that deal with taxes.  Proposition 30 raises the sales tax a quarter of a cent to 7.5 percent, starting in the new year 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders say they’re not looking at more tax increases now that voters have approved Proposition 30. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, tax credits could be on the table, like the controversial Enterprise Zone program.

California offers 700 million dollars a year in tax credits to businesses who add or retain jobs in economically distressed neighborhoods.  

The governor proposed eliminating Enterprise Zones last year but couldn’t win legislative approval. 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s only the first week of the new California legislative session.  But three Democrats have already signaled they’re ready to adjust the “third rail” of California politics – the landmark property tax measure known as Proposition 13.  

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is the latest Democratic lawmaker to call for a change to Prop 13.  He wants to stop large companies from disguising changes in ownership that would normally trigger reassessments – something homeowners can’t do.

Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California Democratic state Senator Mark Leno plans to introduce a constitutional amendment on Monday that will make it easier to pass local taxes for schools.

The amendment would allow voters to pass school parcel taxes with a 55-percent vote instead of the two-thirds vote required by Proposition 13.

Jon Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says the legislation isn’t surprising given that Democrats now hold a supermajority in the legislature.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure is drawing some of its strongest opposition from small business groups. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on how some small businesses would be affected by Proposition 30.

James Wright owns part of a small business in Los Angeles County that manufactures manhole covers – with about 10 million dollars in sales. Wright doesn’t take anywhere near that much home to his family. But he does have to pay personal income taxes on company profits … using money from the business itself.

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