By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — Since the Legislature returned to session in January, California lawmakers have weighed raising annual taxes and fees by more than $190 billion, according to a new report released this week by the California TaxFoundation.
The report from CalTax includes all pending tax and fee legislation introduced this year and proposals from 2021 that were acted upon or remain active. Within the report, CalTax notes that several proposals to raise taxes have been considered by the Legislature in the first two months of 2022 as the state eyes billions of dollars in reserves and surplus.
“The tax and fee proposals were introduced despite the state’s reserves of more than $34.6 billion, a windfall of unexpected tax revenue (nearly $16 billion above projections during the first seven months of the 2021‑22 fiscal year alone), and a projected surplus of $45.7 billion,” the report states.
The largest tax measure pending in the legislature is Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11 — a proposal brought forth by Assemblymember Ash Kalra to fund single-payer healthcare in California.
Assemblymember Kalra’s single-payer health care bill, Assembly Bill 1400, died in January, but the funding mechanism in ACA 11 is still pending. CalTax estimates that ACA 11 would result in a nearly $163 billion tax increase by levying a gross receipts tax, a payroll tax on employers and employees and a personal tax increase on individuals making more than $149,500.
According to CalTax, ACA 11 could be placed on the ballot “in anticipation of the reintroduction of a single-payer implementation bill.”
The second-largest tax measure currently pending in the legislature is Assembly Bill 2289, which would impose a “wealth tax” on high-earners in California.
The bill would levy a 1% annual tax on worldwide net worth over $50 million and an annual tax of 1.5% for a resident whose worldwide net worth exceeds $1 billion. The tax would apply to art, collectables, real property, pension funds, financial assets held offshore, farm assets, funds and stocks, according to CalTax.
If passed, AB 2289 is expected to cost taxpayers $22.3 billion.
Other proposals pending in the Legislature that would create new taxes include Assembly Bill 2802, which would impose a “carbon tax” on entities that emit greenhouse gasses. It’s estimated that this proposal could cost taxpayers $5 billion annually, the report notes.
One bill included in the report, Assembly Bill 1223, would have imposed a 10% excise tax on the sales price of handguns and an 11% tax on sales of long gun rifles and ammunition, but it died in the Assembly. The Assembly Appropriations Committee estimated that it would have cost taxpayers $118 million.
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.