September 26, 2013 |
Provisions of California's landmark Proposition 13 property tax measure are stoking ire again as reform activists say a high-profile commercial property deal is being structured to avoid tax increases by taking advantage of a loophole. A group of unions and anti-poverty organizations accuses real estate giant Brookfield Office Properties Inc. of trying to skate on potentially millions of dollars in new property taxes on downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers the company is buying by taking less than a 50% stake in a new entity that will take title to the properties and others now held by Brookfield.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- A petition drive to qualify an initiative creating an oil extraction tax to raise $1 billion for schools missed a deadline this week, but organizers say they will try again. The initiative, titled the California Modernization and Economic Development Act, began gathering signatures in April and did not have enough by the deadline on Tuesday. Organizers declined to say how many signatures they collected, but said they spent much of the time recruiting students to circulate the petitions and are confident they can get the 505,000 signatures needed to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot.
September 18, 2013 |
CHICAGO - Ty Warner, the entrepreneur who became a billionaire creating Beanie Babies toys, has been charged with federal tax evasion and has agreed to pay a $53.5-million penalty, federal officials said. Warner was charged with failing to report income he earned in a secret offshore account he held with UBS, the financial services firm based in Switzerland, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago said Wednesday. Warner's lawyer, Gregory Scandaglia, confirmed that Warner, the sole owner of Westmont, Ill.-based toy designer Ty Inc., reached an agreement to resolve an investigation into an overseas account he opened in 1996.
September 17, 2013 |
LOGAN, W.Va. - When President Obama laid out ambitious plans in June for combating climate change, coal miners like Roger Horton heard what they considered the latest fusillade in the administration's "war on coal. " Until his retirement two weeks ago, Horton, 59, worked underground for decades in southern West Virginia's Logan County, then operated a 200-ton earth-moving truck to remove debris from blasted mountaintops. A milestone in Obama's initiative will come this week, when the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue rules limiting emissions from new power plants.
September 17, 2013 |
JERUSALEM - Will that be cash or credit? Depends who's asking, but Israelis may soon not have much of a choice. On Tuesday, the Israeli Cabinet approved establishing a committee to propose ways of reducing cash transactions and increasing electronic payment methods to combat the underground economy and tax evasion. Using cash can help create an off-the-books economy, allowing a gap between reported economic activity and genuine economic activity, as well as encouraging tax evasion and other financial crimes, the cabinet statement said.
September 16, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers have sent the governor a bill that would end state efforts to collect a retroactive tax increase from investors. A signature by Gov. Jerry Brown would relieve about 2,000 taxpayers from having to pay $120 million in back taxes. The California Franchise Tax Board made an effort to collect the money after the state Court of Appeal ruled that a tax break, known as the Qualified Small Stock exemption, was partially unconstitutional. That left shareholders on the hook for income from stock sold between 2008 and 2012.
September 12, 2013
Re "Politics and the pulpit," Editorial, Sept. 8 How is this for an idea not only to remove politics from the pulpit but to do away with all IRS deductions for charity: Eliminate all 503(c)(3) deductions, period. You want to contribute to a favorite charity? Do it, but without the incentive of a tax deduction, which after all raises some questions about how committed you are to the cause. Consequently, a whole bunch of IRS agents wouldn't have to monitor these deductions. And look how it would simplify your tax return.
September 10, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - Ricardo Rodriguez Borja works in a New Age gift store in Polanco, one of Mexico City's wealthiest neighborhoods, and he readily concedes that its tarot card decks, angel statues and books on chakra energies are luxuries in a country where 45% of residents live in poverty. The 32-year-old predicts he'll be making fewer sales if President Enrique Peña Nieto's fiscal reform proposal is approved, because of the added tax burden it will place on his middle-class customers.
September 9, 2013 |
Some families may end up owing Uncle Sam a sizable refund if they accept government help on buying health insurance next year under President Obama's Affordable Care Act. A study published Monday in Health Affairs estimates that 38% of families that qualify for federal premium subsidies might have to repay some portion if changes in their household income aren't reported to the government. These subsidies are a crucial part of the federal healthcare law intended to help make insurance more affordable for lower- and middle-income people.
September 6, 2013 |
After years of living in Yosemite National Park, I learned that, contrary to the teachings of Smokey Bear, fire can be a welcome force for good. It rejuvenates the forest. It clears the way for richer, more diverse habitat. It is essential in the life cycle of the giant sequoia. And if you live in the mountains, surrounded by forests piled high with tinderbox-dry debris, nothing helps you sleep more soundly at night than being in an area that's been burned. What isn't good is a fire like the Rim fire, which as of Thursday had burned 237,341 acres, or 370 square miles, in and around Yosemite.