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    Sac'to Legislation Permitting Local Income Tax Neutered In Committee For Now...But May Regain Potency Later

  • LB Firefighters Testify, Support AB 1690 Letting Local Voters Impose Local Income Tax For Public Safety Purposes
  • Committee Balks On Policy Grounds Voiced Mainly By Sen. Bowen (D., Redondo Beach-LB)
  • Committee Changes Legislation To "Intent" Bill -- Not Legally Binding; It May Regain Legal Teeth Later

    (July 9, 2003) -- The LB Firefighters Association (among a number of police, sheriff and firefighter employee unions) urged the CA Senate's Revenue and Taxation Committee today to advance a bill that for the first time in CA history would let cities and counties impose a local income tax, subject to approval by a majority of local voters for public safety purposes.

    But following a lengthy discussion (from which posts audio excerpts below), the Committee (with the author's reluctant consent) effectively neutered the bill -- but possibly only temporarily. A version expressing "intent" (but without legal teeth) will now advance with relative ease while policy discussions of the substantive issue of a local income tax continue.

    That leaves open the possibility that restoring the bill's local income tax legal teeth could take place in the future.

    AB 1690 (which passed the CA Assembly in June with the minimum 41 of 80 votes, including LB area Assemblymembers Alan Lowenthal and Jenny Oropeza) hit choppy water when Sen. Debra Bowen (D., Redondo Beach-LB) voiced concerns on policy grounds.

    Sen. Bowen stressed she was not saying "hell no" to a local income tax...but indicated she favored discussing the issue in the context of broader structural reforms and declined to support the bill at present.

    Among opponents were the CA Chamber of Commerce and the CA Federation of Republican Women.

    Following discussion lasting over an hour, the Committee changed AB 1690 to an "intent bill"...non-substantive legislation reciting the intent of the body to support certain actions. That will ease the bill's advance in the legislative process...while members of the Sen. Rev & Tax Committee (or some subcommittee) tackle the policy issues.

    Amended as an intent bill, AB 1690 advanced on a 4-3 Committee vote...with the possibility of returning in substantive form in the future.

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