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California Bill Would Apply Wealth Tax to Residents Who Fled the State in the Last 10 Years

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A new so-called wealth tax in California would send tax bills even to people who have moved out of the liberal state.

The Democrats’ proposal for “an annual tax of 0.4 percent upon the worldwide net worth of every resident in this state,” according to the text of AB 2088, which would create the tax on a vast list of untaxed assets California wants to tax.

The tax would target not only current residents but anyone who has what the bill classifies as wealth and who has lived in California any time in the past 10 years. It would use a sliding scale based on the number of years a taxpayer lived in the state.

Jon Healey, the deputy editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times, cast a jaundiced eye upon the proposal in an Op-Ed in which he noted that “the tax would also be imposed on former residents who left within the past decade, presumably to catch those who fled the state’s income tax rates, which already are the highest in the country.”

“It also would apply the highest wealth-tax rate to anyone who’d spent a decade or more in California, a bizarre choice that would only increase the incentive for longtime residents to move out,” he wrote.

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Healey argued that the tax was a bad idea because there are huge uncertainties about how it would work.

“Then there are questions about how to value assets that aren’t on the market, such as a business you own that isn’t listed on the stock market,” he wrote. “The bill calls on the Franchise Tax Board to come up with a way to value non-publicly-traded assets, yet the tax would go into effect immediately.

“Nor is it at all clear how the state would enforce against the many, many ways that wealthy people would find to avoid the tax.”

Healey’s bottom line was that “it makes no sense for lawmakers to try to solve those problems by enacting a wholly new type of permanent tax with no study and no clue as to its potential unintended consequences.”

The proposal caused a stir on Twitter.

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Democratic Assembly member Ron Bonta said the state needs the cash.

“The California Wealth Tax would add critically needed revenue for California by creating a more equitable tax structure,” he said, according to East County Today.

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Bonta said the tax, which impacts those with wealth at over $30 million, would affect about 30,400 people.

“Families are hurting right now,” he said. “COVID-19 has only made matters worse. In times of crisis, all Californians must step up and contribute their fair share. Asking these well-resourced Californians to give a little more to keep our people working and support our most vulnerable is the right thing to do.”

Other Democratic supporters of the bill said it was simply a matter of fairness.

“It is long past time that California had an equitable tax structure that allows us to provide for all Californians,” Assembly member David Chiu said.

“We are at a very critical point in time where if we don’t start putting dollars where our values are, we will see unprecedented devastation in our communities. We need people to start pulling their own weight here, and it starts with the ultra-rich,” Assembly member Miguel Santiago said.

Republican state Sen. John Moorlach was a dissenting voice, saying higher taxes would send those who have the means to move out of the state.

“We already have the highest personal income tax rate in the nation,” Moorlach said, according to the Sacramento Bee.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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