Californians to vote on property tax increase under Senator Scott Wiener’s bill

SACRAMENTO – Are Californians willing to tax some of the state’s wealthiest residents after they die to close the wealth gap with the poor?

Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is betting on a new state-level estate tax, modeled on the federal estate estate tax, to fund programs that tackle California’s economic inequalities.

“It’s a way of not having permanent nobility in the United States,” Wiener said. “We should help low-income working families build wealth so they can send their kids to college, so they can buy a house, so they don’t go bankrupt if they have expenses.” unforeseen medical conditions. “

SB378, which Wiener plans to officially present on Tuesday, would put an inheritance tax proposal on the November 2020 ballot.

If approved by voters, California would collect 40% of assets worth more than $ 3.5 million, or $ 7 million for married couples, after the owner’s death – the value at which the he federal tax started ten years ago.

The federal property tax floor has risen steadily over the past 10 years and doubled under the 2017 tax plan approved by Congress and signed by President Trump. It is now $ 11.4 million, or $ 22.8 million for married couples.

“It’s obscene how far this exemption has gone,” Wiener said.

Its proposed state tax would be phased out at the current federal level. Like federal tax, there would be exemptions for family farms and surviving spouse’s inheritance.

Wiener’s office estimates the tax would bring in an additional $ 500 to $ 1 billion a year, which he wants to use for programs like education savings accounts for low-income children.

Nearly one in five Californians lives in poverty, according to the latest estimates by the US Census Bureau, the highest rate of any state in the country.

California voters repealed a previous state estate tax and banned futures in 1982, so Wiener’s plan must go to the polls.

But getting there will be difficult, even if SB378 only needs the approval of a simple majority of lawmakers. Several major tax measures, which must be passed with a two-thirds vote, are being passed in the legislature as California posts a budget surplus of more than $ 20 billion.

Alexei Koseff is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @akoseff

Comments are closed.