California suffering through driest three years ever recorded, with no relief in sight. This week, California politicians pushed through a bill that would give the state’s agricultural industry a 30% tax break, on top of already generous tax breaks for high-tech companies.
A number of companies are lobbying against the bill, saying they would lower the state’s already fragile environment. And a number of companies are lobbying against the bill, saying they would lower the state’s already fragile environment.
The tax break could even reduce the state’s deficit by more than $300 million. The Golden State’s economy has been in free fall since the recession ended in June 2009, and the tax break would make the state even more vulnerable. And the tax break would be unfair to our communities, because the companies that will receive the tax breaks will be based in California’s richest counties.
The bill is also being passed just as the state prepares to pass another piece of legislation that would allow the state’s wealthiest counties to increase their taxes (to the tune of $1 billion) without voter approval. That law is called S.B. 5, and is being pushed by Governor Brown and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, a wealthy Republican.
In her state-of-the-state address, Governor Brown said, “The people of California … have been battered by crisis after crisis in the last 15 years.” “But we are fighting back. We are working to build a stronger, brighter future.”
And now, he’s trying to buy some of that future.
The Senate is now debating a package of bills that would provide a $1 billion tax break to companies based in wealthy areas on the coast, but would give the state’s wealthy counties a huge new tax break of $500 million, on top of the already generous tax breaks for business and investment they’ve received over the past 30 years.
The package of bills is being fast-tracked and pushed through by Governor Brown and Skinner, without a single public hearing, despite the fact that the state’s Constitution does not allow a tax break (or a tax increase) for the wealthy.
At the same