CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 2, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown has bet a portion of California's financial health on the expectation that a hyperpartisan Congress will change course on a hotly debated tax policy this year. The budget Brown signed last week assumes that over the next four years the state will reap almost $2.3 billion from the federal estate tax, a levy on wealth inheritance. California hasn't collected any revenue from the tax since 2004, and if Congress sticks with current policy it won't in the coming years, either.
June 14, 2012 |
The current debate about rich and poor - the 1% vs. the 99% - is a bit misleading, because the evidence usually is data about income, not wealth. Looking at wealth would make the comparison even starker. There are some nice deals to be had in the income tax code these days, but most wealth accumulates and passes from generation to generation with no tax at all. Warren Buffett (who has selflessly taken on the role of all-purpose tape measure in these matters) is worth $45 billion or so. Do you think that all of that $45 billion, or even most of it, has appeared on any Form 1040 on its way to the cookie jar?
December 21, 2010
Sanity in the Senate Re "Senate strikes down 'don't ask,' " Dec. 19 Finally! Now that "don't ask, don't tell" has been repealed in a Senate vote, can we move on to issues that have a greater impact on the country and all of its citizens? I am completely sympathetic with the injustice of this policy. But the airtime, energy and attention given to this issue by myriad progressive and right-wing groups and the media is absurd. To prohibit homosexuals from being and expressing who they are, whether in the military or not, is so patently wrong, it should not have taken one moment of back-and-forth yammering to get it right.
December 18, 2010 |
Of the several objectionable provisions included in the tax compromise that congressional Republicans extorted from the Obama administration, none is more noxious than the one that all but guts the estate tax. Even the needless and unfair continuation of tax reductions for families making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year merely extends a benefit already enjoyed by affluent households. Estate tax cuts, by contrast, create a whole new windfall for those who already enjoy privileges and security undreamed of by the vast majority of Americans.
December 16, 2010 |
The House on Thursday found itself temporarily stymied on how to proceed on the tax-cut extension package when some Democrats protested the terms of debate on the package negotiated by President Obama and Republicans. The House on Thursday found itself temporarily stymied on how to proceed on the tax-cut extension package when some Democrats protested the terms of debate on the package negotiated by President Obama and Republicans. Originally, Democratic leaders had hoped to have a vote on the measure Thursday afternoon, but they were forced to pull back a rule needed to bring the measure to the floor when liberals objected to terms of debating such issues as the estate tax. Leaders were hopeful they could resolve the dispute in time to vote later Thursday, but a final vote could spill into Friday.
December 15, 2010 |
The Senate has passed legislation that would temporarily extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and renew unemployment benefits for 7 million Americans, moving the compromise package on to the House of Representatives. Despite qualms from members of both parties in the House, final congressional action seems possible by week's end. The exact timing will depend on whether Democrats are successful in efforts to amend the package. The final vote in the Senate was 81-19. In addition to the tax rate and unemployment insurance extensions, the bill would trim the payroll tax by 2 percentage points for a year and reinstate the estate tax, but at a lower rate than was in force before it lapsed at the end of 2009.