In keeping with the gift-giving spirit of the season, the state has mailed out most of the nearly 12 million state income tax rebate checks owed to taxpayers in time for Christmas--and schools are continuing to receive a portion of the bounty.
State Controller Gray Davis said Wednesday that close to 11 million checks totaling more than $1 billion have gone out since Nov. 9, and that most individuals entitled to a refund who have not received a check should get it this week.
The rebates are the result of the Gann spending-limit law, which requires the state to distribute excess revenues to taxpayers. The deadline for mailing the $1.1 billion in refunds is Jan. 15, but Davis said his staff is working extra-long hours to mail the bulk of the checks by Christmas.
Davis Turns Over Check
Davis turned over his own check for $272 to the Los Angeles Unified School District, which so far has received 440 checks totaling more than $47,000.
"The checks are still coming in," said Los Angeles school board President Rita Walters, who accepted Davis' rebate donation at a Los Angeles press conference. "We are hoping we will still receive additional rebate checks. We hope people will also understand that even if they have deposited their check already, they can still make a contribution to the district in the amount of the rebate and they won't have to pay taxes on it."
Many school districts statewide have campaigned for rebate donations, but the efforts have not brought in as much money as hoped. The districts, following the advice of state Supt. of Public Instruction Bill Honig, have asked taxpayers to endorse their checks to the school of their choice or to the district and to specify how they would like the money to be used.
District Gets $38,000
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has received more than $38,000 in rebate donations. The Beverly Hills Unified School District has received more than $25,000.
The rebate checks are subject to federal income tax but not to state income tax. Donations may be deducted from both federal and state taxes for people who itemize, according to the state controller's office.
Legislation signed by Gov. George Deukmejian in September provided for a rebate of $32 to $118 for single people and $64 to $272 for couples.