Yesterday, I mentioned that the Republicans were killing good bills, bills that even they supported, in a fit of pique because their bills weren’t getting support.
But there’s another angle here that I missed. The LA Times spends quite a few column inches on it though. Namely, the tax software company Intuit is trying to kill Californians.
Republicans in the Senate blocked more than 20 bills — all needing GOP votes to pass, many approved by the lower house with bipartisan or near-unanimous support — to leverage a trio of unrelated demands. Chief among those was the elimination of a program that allowed mostly low-income Californians to have the state do their tax returns free, something the maker of TurboTax has been trying to achieve for years.
The other demands, which Democrats say they were willing to meet, were putting a Republican name on a popular bill and tweaking corporate tax breaks passed months ago.
“This is what they hold out for?” exasperated Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday. (LA Times 9/14/09)
Intuit makes the popular tax software, TurboTax. You’ll see that they give away the federal software, but then charge $30.95 to buy each state version that you need. It’s like the drug dealer giving away the first hit. And ReadyReturn, which is a great program that Steve Westly championed, got in the way. It allowed Californians with relatively simple taxes to basically fill in most of the data that is needed on the Form 540. It made short work of the process and made people question why they would pay $31 for something that basically does nothing.
TurboTax sucks blood from the population. It thrives on taxes being confusing, and they are opposed to anything that would simplify them. They did everything in their power to beat on Westly, and then tried their best to scuttle our current Controller John Chiang, dumping $1 million bucks into defeating him in 2006. Just like the drug dealer doesn’t want drugs legalized, Intuit doesn’t want taxes made easy.
While some may think the comparison to a drug dealer harsh, given the fact that they killed several bills that would have saved lives, the metaphor seems mild. They killed a bill that would have kept domestic violence shelters open. I hope the lobbyists at Intuit and the Republicans who got in bed with them sleep well at night while victims of domestic violence are turned away from their only support in a time of crisis.
Keep this in mind when tax season rolls around next year.