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California Tax Refunds

December 29, 1987

Along with most other California taxpayers, I have recently received my 1987 state tax rebate. Since I had almost forgotten that this check was on its way, I experienced an initial elation at receiving what appeared to be an unearned windfall. It didn't take long for me to recognize that the rebate was, after all, just a partial refund of my own money.

In his brief accompanying message, Gray Davis, California state controller, managed to offend me in two ways. He narrated as a fact the dubious and controversial proposition that the educational welfare of our children was sacrificed in favor of the rebate. As many of us recognize, the public schools have been burdened with the impossible task of compensating for the breakdown of our social structure. Despite all contrary evidence, many liberals persist in their belief that if one throws enough money at almost any problem, including this one, the problem will go away.

Davis goes on to tell us of his vigorous opposition to subjecting this rebate to "further" federal taxation. He tries to leave the impression that because of his efforts the IRS agreed that those taxpayers who took the standard deduction last year would not have to pay taxes on the rebate. The truth is that this rebate was and remains subject to the same rules as any other refund of state income taxes: Those who deducted the state taxes when they itemized their deductions will be taxed on the rebate, and those who did not deduct state taxes because they took the standard deduction will not be taxed on the rebate.

SIDNEY W. LEWINTER

Redondo Beach

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