Tag Archives: Tax Reform

More Tax Reform: Distinctive Classes of Property for Parcel Taxes

Freshman Assemblyman Rob Bonta looks to clarify 1980s legislation

by Brian Leubitz

It was the heady days of the mid-1980s, and Prop 13 was something not too distant in the rear view mirror. It was 1986 to be precise, and the Legislature passed some amendments to the Government codes to clarify the status of parcel taxes. Except that the clarification didn’t quite actually clarify everything.

For a few years, several areas, mostly in the Bay Area, had tax rates that varied by usage of the property. Under California tax code, property is assigned a classification, and school districts operated under the theory that if they charged taxes at the same rate within classifications, they were ok with Prop 13.

Except that a resident of the Alameda USD disagreed and filed suit against a 2008 parcel tax. He lost in the trial court, but won at the court of appeal level (for a few days anyway).

The First District Court of Appeals overturned Alameda Unified’s parcel tax, passed in 2008 and lasting three years, that set different tax rates for owners of residential and commercial property. In Borikas vs Alameda Unified, the court said that it violated a state law that requires parcel taxes be uniform. The potential ramifications of the decision are significant as districts look to local property owners for one of the few sources of money outside of state revenue. (EdSource 12/20/2012)

Here’s a link for the decision in Borikas v Alameda USD. But, well, not so fast, because the ruling was vacated pending a rehearing on Jan. 7. But the uncertainty was just too much for Asm. Rob Bonta, who represents the island of Alameda.

The bill, AB 59, by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would nullify a state Appeals Court ruling in December overturning an Alameda Unified School District parcel tax that levied one rate for residential and small commercial properties, and another for larger commercial properties. Bonta also represents Alameda. (EdSource)

The bill, in effect, would put the system back to status quo prior to the decision and the uncertainty of the Borikas case.  As it is only dealing with statutes, no supermajority is required. AB 59 is still cooling its jets in the Assembly Revenue committee, with the first possible hearing date being Feb 7. However, Gov. Brown hasn’t said anything on the topic, and with the case still pending in the courts, he probably won’t rush out to say anything.

It is worth keeping an eye out on the court decision, but that can still be a while before we get through the rehearing. In the meantime, parcel taxes remain one of the very few ways that districts can raise money. I expect that there are a few nervous school board members right about now.

Students, Gavin Newsom, and the 2010 CDP Convention

After the preparations had been made, the tally sheets from our phone calls completed, the carpools worked out, and the volunteers scheduled, I headed to Los Angeles with the hope that after the weekend was complete, there would be no question in the minds of the CDP delegates that Gavin Newsom has the grassroots support necessary to win the Lt. Governor’s race against whatever the GOP throws at us in November.

In the weeks prior to the convention, our team of students from all across the state had been talking to delegates, volunteers, and fellow young voters about Mayor Newsom’s candidacy and about his bold, new ideas that will be required to dig California out of our seemingly never ending state of economic misery.

The pitch was not hard to make. Young people are drawn to Newsom’s campaign. We see public higher education becoming unaffordable to more and more Californians. We fear that in five or ten years our state won’t be able to compete in an evolving global economy, and we worry that the living wage jobs that we will need in order to support our families will be harder and harder to find. While we are confident that our state will come to its senses when it comes to Gay Marriage and LGBT rights, we are concerned that the relentless beat of the status quo won’t provide the framework necessary to drastically change the way we look at issues like immigration, the environment, and budget & tax reform. We have watched the forces of regressiveness drag our state (and our futures) under the surface, and we are ready and eager to support Gavin Newsom, who has proven time and time again in San Francisco that tangible change is not only possible, but it is also necessary.

This is why over 100 enthusiastic volunteers showed up to the state Democratic Party convention this weekend in support of Gavin Newsom. If you were in LA, you may have seen us trailing the candidate as he greeted throngs of excited delegates in the hallways, waiting in the back of crowded caucus rooms to welcome him and hear him speak, or waving signs and holding coffees while passing out muffins on a street corner early on Saturday morning.

The high number of young people supporting Gavin Newsom’s campaign for LG is a testament to the appeal of his dynamic candidacy and engaging personality. Young voters are the bellwether of the coming decades of California Politics, and we are ready to not only vote for, but also work to produce real change. We came out in full force for President Obama, we overwhelmingly opposed Props 4 and 8, and we vented our fear and anger over cuts to higher education during protests up and down the state this past year.

Young people have proven over the last two years that we are ready to lead the next wave of progressive politics in this state. We look at Sacramento and see a broken system that needs fixing, quickly. Income inequality is on the rise, unemployment is approaching record highs, and an archaic budget and tax code protects the interests of the most conservative politicians in the state and stifles any hope of reform. At the same time, we turn to San Francisco and see a city with universal healthcare, universal pre-school, paid sick-leave, and the highest minimum wage in the nation, and we are given a reason to have hope for the future. Because of his track record, my generation feels that we share a vision for the future with Gavin Newsom.  Because of this, we are ready to ensure that he has the opportunity to prove himself on a statewide level. If you were at the convention last weekend, you may have caught a glimpse of that.

You can join Students for Gavin Newsom on Facebook: facebook.com/studentsfornewsom

Edwards aims to “Reverse the War On Work”

John Edwards is still focusing on Issues that matter to Working Families!

like the Economy … like Taxes.

All the while the GOP continues to “debate” that “only MORE Corporate Tax Cuts will create Jobs and keep the Economy strong!”

Hmmm … Where are all those Jobs, by the way?

Billions in Tax give aways to the Rich, for the last 5+ years, only seem to have strengthen the Rich, it seems to me.

From the John Edwards Issues pages:

In America today, families are working harder to get by.

Half of American families say they are living paycheck to paycheck,

and 3 out of 10 American workers have not been able to save a dime for their retirement.

Wait there’s More !

from the John Edwards Issues pages

who single-handedly put Poverty squarely on the Landscape of Issues:

37,000,000 Americans live in Poverty.

The top 300,000 individuals now make more than the bottom 150,000,000

given that Census reports the USA had Population of 301,621,157 in 2007, these “poorly” reported numbers Chart out this way:

Does the millionaire-elite segment of society, really need any more help?

From the John Edwards Issues pages:

The top 300,000 individuals now make more than the bottom 150,000,000.

The result is Two Americas, one struggling to get by and another that has everything it could want.

Taking a cue from Drew Carey’s “Power of Ten” (the exponential scale)

Refocusing this Wealth imbalance on the scale where “real people” live,

you can hardly see those corporate boardroom movers and shakers, anymore:

Does the millionaire elite segment of society, really need any more help?

John Edwards doesn’t think so:

Solutions for Working Families
, from the John Edwards Issues pages:

John Edwards believes we have to build One American Economy-where everyone has the opportunity to work hard and build a better life.

He will restore respect for work to our tax code and

cut taxes for working families.

He will overhaul our weak labor laws

to give workers a real right to organize.

Strengthen Labor Laws:

Union membership can be the difference between a poverty-wage job and middle-class security.

Federal law promises workers the right to choose a union, but the law is poorly enforced, full of loopholes, and routinely violated by employers. …

Enact Smarter Trade Policies:

Trade deals need to make sense for American workers, not just corporations.

Edwards will make sure any new trade agreements include

strong labor and environmental standards and

will vigorously enforce American workers’ rights in existing agreements. …

Make Work Pay:

Edwards will increase the reward for working by raising the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2012, tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) …

Protect Prevailing Wages:

Edwards pledges to protect the Davis Bacon Act, which ensures that workers on federal construction projects receive the local prevailing wage. …

Help Families Save and Get Ahead:

Edwards will crack down on abusive lenders by creating a new Families Savings and Credit Commission to protect families

Edwards will create Work Bonds to help families save and invest, providing financial safety nets for hard times. …

Work Bonds:

A new tax credit of up to $500, would help low and moderate-income, working Americans save for the future. …



John Edwards was FIRST to take the cue, from billionaire Warren Buffett, about our US Tax Policy which should NO LONGER favor the Rich over the interest of ordinary Working Folks

Tax Solutions from the John Edwards Issues pages:

Reverse the “War On Work”:

Nothing better reflects the problems with our tax code than the lower tax rates for capital gains. As Warren Buffett says, there is something wrong when he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary.

As president, Edwards will:

  – Raise the tax rate on capital gains to 28 percent for the most fortunate taxpayers – taxing the investment income of the wealthiest Americans similarly to the wages of the middle class.

  – Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the highest-income households and keep the tax on very large estates (above $4 million for couples).

  – Declare war on offshore tax havens by cracking down on tax shelter promoters, cooperating with allies to fight tax havens, and closing the “tax gap” by improving IRS customer service, simplifying tax filing, auditing more large corporations and high-income individuals and requiring more third-party reporting.

  – Close unfair loopholes like the tax breaks for hedge funds and private equity fund managers and unlimited executive pensions.



For More, in-depth analysis of Edwards Tax Reform Plan, click here.

Given the changing polling in SC, as reported by JedReport, there is definitely a market for a Leader with real substantive Plans like Edwards!

Question: Do you want a President who:

WILL fight for the issues that MATTER

to you and your family?

Isn’t it finally time the Working Folks of America,

finally has their Voice heard in Washington DC —

for a Change?

John Edwards is Speaking up for US!

John Edwards WILL be that Voice for working folks!

Thousands of working people, like you, are stepping up for Edwards, right now:

Edwards breaks Q4 online fundraising in 25 days.

by BruceMcF – Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:26:05 AM PST

Learn more:

Edwards on the Issues


Meet John Edwards: Selected Clips:


Don’t become another statistic …

Vote your conscious.

Vote in your own best interests(while you still have the chance)

Vote for John Edwards!  — It Matters!

and contribute if you can afford it.


The Edwards Tax Plan: Reward Work — Not Wealth

The old saying goes:

“The only things Inevitable in Life, are Death and Taxes!”

These are both unpleasant subjects, and since political candidates can’t really do a lot about one, this diary will be exploring the other — Taxes.

John Edwards has based his campaign on hard hitting messages about the need for “Economic Parity” in our Country — this Diary will be taking a serious look at what Edwards will do about Taxes.

The Senator often says “I do not wanting to live in a Country made up of the Super-Rich and Everybody Else!”  

That’s not the America we all grew up in. Each year achieving the American Dream becomes more and more difficult. What are working people to do, in this society of Haves and Have-Nots?

Is John’s tough Campaign Rhetoric just Talk, or does he actually have the Plans to Back it up?

Turn the page, to see where the “Rhetoric meet Reality” when it comes to that annual April Ritual, most hard-working American love to hate — spelled I.R.S.

Solutions like UHC and stopping Global Warming will take Money — where’s ALL that money going to come from?

First the Documents to be discussed:

The Policy Summary Document:

John Edwards: The Plan to Build One America  [pdf1]



The Edwards Issue Page on Tax Reform:



The Policy Details Document:

Building One Economy with Tax Reform to Reward Work



Here’s where regular Working Americans start getting some Respect again in our Economic System (as expressed in an incomprehensible Tax Code), which all too often favors only those Wealthy enough to “work the system”:

John Edwards’ Tax Reform to Reward Work [from pdf1]

The Goals:  

“Our tax code has shifted most of the burden onto the backs of working Americans. There is simply no end to the special tax breaks available to big corporations and wealthy individuals who can afford lawyers and lobbyists.

“It’s time to end the President’s war on work. And it’s time to restore fairness to a tax code that has been driven badly out of whack.”

– Remarks on “Restoring Economic Fairness,” July 26, 2007

The Summary

John Edwards will rewrite our tax code to make it simpler and fairer and to help hard-working families succeed. Millions of working and middle-class families will keep more of their paychecks. Those at the very top will again pay their fair share.

The Edwards Tax Reform Plan — Policy Points

(1) New tax breaks to Strengthen the Middle Class

The Goals:

“It’s time for us to put our economy back in line with our values and strengthen three pillars of America’s middle class: savings, work and family.”

The Steps: to Strengthen the Middle Class

 (A) Encourage Savings

   (a) Establish a new Get Ahead tax credit to match up to $500 a year in retirement savings for families earning up to $75,000.

   (b) Create new Work Bonds to offer extra savings incentives for low-income workers.

 (B) Reward Work

   (a) Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reward low-wage workers by tripling the EITC for single adults and cutting the marriage penalty.

[ some key details from pdf-2: ]

– Edwards will expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to pay up to 50 percent of childcare expenses up to $5,000 and make it partially refundable to benefit low-income working families. He will also allow stay-at-home parents to get the credit to help pay for child care for newborn infants.

– Triple the EITC for 4 Million Adults without Children: A single worker at the poverty line pays more than $800 in federal income and payroll taxes. Edwards will offer more than $1,200 to poor single workers, tripling the current EITC, and it will give 4 million low-income workers an average tax cut of $750.

– Edwards believes that we must cut the EITC marriage penalty. His proposal will cut taxes for 3 million couples by about $400 a year.

 (C) Support Families

   (a) More than double the Child and Dependent Care Credit to up to $2,500 per child.

(2) Reward work, not just wealth, and Repeal the Bush tax breaks for the Wealthy

The Goals:

“It’s time to stop promoting the wealth of the wealthy and start making sure that everyone has the chance to move up the economic ladder.”

The Steps: to Repeal the Bush tax breaks

 (A) Restore Fair Taxation of Wealth

   (a) Restore the investment income tax rate to 28 percent for Americans making more than $250,000 a year so that wealthy investors don’t pay a lower rate on investments than many regular Americans pay on wages.

[ some key details from pdf-2: ]

To ensure that the wealthiest Americans are paying their fair share of taxes and to reduce the economic distortions from tax shelters resulting from large capital gains preferences, Edwards will raise the top tax rate on long-term capital gains to 28 percent for the most fortunate taxpayers, the same rate signed into law by President Reagan. The 28 percent rate will ensure that high-income investors will pay taxes on their investment income at a similar rate to what regular families pay on their earned income.

   (b) Repeal the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $200,000 a year.

[ some key details from pdf-2: ]

More than half of the Bush tax cuts – $132 billion – will go to the top 1 percent of taxpayers in 2010. Edwards will repeal the Bush tax cuts for the highest-income households. He will also eliminate estate taxes for the middle class, small business owners and family farmers, while keeping these taxes on the few families with large estates above $4 million in value.

   (c) Keep the tax on very largest inheritances while protecting family businesses and family farms.

 (B) Simplify Taxes

   (a) Simplify taxes for up to 50 million families by giving them the option of letting the IRS complete a first draft of their forms for “five-minute filing.”

(3) Shut down special Loopholes for insiders

The Goals:

[ some key details from pdf-2: ]

Declare War on Tax Havens: About $300 billion a year in taxes go unpaid, and about $1.5 trillion in personal assets of U.S. taxpayers are held offshore. These unpaid taxes increase the share of the tax burden shouldered by honest taxpayers. Edwards will end the abuse of foreign tax havens: low-tax countries that facilitate American corporations and wealthy individuals seeking to avoid U.S. taxes.

Close the Hedge Fund and Private Equity Loopholes: Some of the most highly paid people in America are the managers of hedge funds and private equity funds, some of whom make hundreds of millions of dollars or even billions a year. Although most of their income, like other earned income, is nothing more than payment for the work they do, they pay only the 15 percent capital gains rate rather than the ordinary income tax rate. Edwards will close this loophole and also ensure that publicly traded private equity and hedge funds pay corporate taxes.

Cap Executive Pensions: Top executives at large corporations commonly receive deferred compensation packages that allow them to put off indefinitely the payment of taxes on much of their compensation. They have in effect unlimited IRAs or 401(k)s, without the limits that apply to other workers. Edwards will limit the amount of money that can be put into these funds to $1 million a year.

The Steps: to Shut down special Loopholes

 (A) Declare War on Offshore Tax Havens

   (a) Edwards will fight offshore tax havens by working with other nations to fight tax evasion, crack down on tax shelter promoters and eliminate special tax breaks for corporations’ offshore investments.

[ some key details from pdf-2: ]

– Extend the time the I.R.S. has to investigate offshore tax havens

– Crack down on peddlers of tax shelters by increasing penalties, prohibiting contingent fee arrangements for tax advisors, and eliminating the ability to patent tax shelters.

– Fight the tax gap by … auditing more large corporations and high-income individuals

 (B) Close the Tax Gap

   (a) Edwards will collect a greater share of the $300 billion in uncollected taxes every year through better IRS service, targeting audits at wealthy individuals and corporations likely to have committed evasion, and requiring more third-party reporting.

 (C) Close Hedge Fund and Private Equity Loopholes

   (a) Edwards will close the loophole that elite Wall Street traders use to pay only 15 percent in taxes on their huge incomes, while regular families often pay twice that amount.

Impressive goals and steps!  How does the Plan stack up?

Edwards Tax Plan:  Reward Work Not Wealth

The Reviews:  [ from pdf1: ]

“Former North Carolina senator John Edwards has a tax plan that is… smarter, targeted at taxpayers who need the most help and at creating incentives for savings.”

– Washington Post editorial

“Edwards, at least, is willing to say which taxes he would raise to keep the deficit from going through the roof…. Edwards deserves points for honesty. …”

– E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist

“We need a president and a tax system that will grow the middle class, not the gap between the haves and have-nots. John Edwards has a fair tax plan that will help middle-class families and promote healthy economic growth.”

– Betty Yee, Chairwoman, California State Board of Equalization

Sound like these Reforms would indeed go a long ways to achieving Economic Fairness in the Country again — a tax system that will grow the middle class — now that really would be something!

If we stay with the “status quo” and continue with “Business as Usual” —

America could indeed become like the gated city on the hill,  

made up of the “super rich” who “run everything” —

(the top 1%)

and “everybody else” —

who just get “run over”!

It’s time to take down that Wall of a Tax Code too!

It’s time to Reward Work — instead of just Wealth!

It’s time to support John Edwards!