Tax Day hits this year with a heavy punch. Because of a plunging economy, far-reaching federal government economic programs and hot discussions about state ballot propositions, taxes are foremost on the people’s mind.
With TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party rallies scheduled around the state and across the nation, the heat has been turned up another notch. What will the tax day events be like? We expect to have reports on a couple of TEA Party events in Fox and Hounds tomorrow.
And, you can bet state accountants are eagerly anticipating those last minute checks postmarked today, hoping to stem the tide of dropping revenue that have been projected by the Finance Department and the State Controller.
Meanwhile, the Senate Health Committee wasn’t paying attention to the calendar when it scheduled a hearing on SB 600 today, Senator Alex Padilla’s 172% tax increase on cigarettes. I’ve already commented that the cigarette taxes should go up in smoke, but to hold the hearing on a day that people of all political persuasions are grumpy about taxes is not a good move.
Today was supposed to be the day the Commission on the 21st Century Economy reported back to the governor with recommendations on how to restructure the state tax system. The deadline was moved back to July 31 so the commissioners could assess the results of the special election as they make their deliberations.
At the next commission meeting in June will begin the hard work of making out those recommendations. Chairman Gerald Parsky is urging the commission to work toward unanimity in making proposals.
Good luck with that. The commission is clearly made up of members with varying and strong viewpoints. Agreeing on recommendations and keeping the proposals revenue neutral will take a miracle or two. But, with no commissioners running for office (that I’m aware of, at any rate) maybe they can work together on fashioning a proposal better than the legislature would.
With discussions about flat income taxes, split roll property taxes, and carbon taxes on the agenda, look for taxes on services to get the most attention when the commission gets back together.
The commission report, along with the special election, will keep the tax issue alive well beyond Tax Day this year.