The Tax Commission: Making Strange Bedfellows

Can a discussion about taxes lead to widespread agreement?

It turns out that sometimes it can, at least when it comes to the proposals put forth by the Commission on the 21st Century Economy (COTCE), the 14-member panel charged with restructuring the state’s tax system.

It seems no one – from the state’s business community to self-described advocates for tax equity, such the California Budget Project – finds much to like in the plan. And though our reasons may differ, they boil down to a similar concern: relying on an untested, new tax used by almost no one else in the world is too risky – both for California and the state’s economic competitiveness.

The Commission’s proposals, which will be detailed in a report that will soon and belatedly be delivered to the Governor and Legislature, would substantially reduce the personal income taxes paid by Californians at the high-end of the income distribution; eliminate the corporate income tax and the state’s share of the sales and use tax; and replace the revenues lost through a new business net receipts tax (BNRT.)