Economy and Taxes Publications

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Tax Relief Provisions Included in the 2009 Federal Stimulus Legislation

March 23, 2009 - Presented to Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee


Tax Expenditures: Policy Issues

February 13, 2009 - Presented to Commission on the 21st Century Economy


2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Revenues

February 6, 2009 - To assist the Legislature in resolving the 2009‑10 budget gap, we developed a list of proposals that would raise more than $5 billion in each of 2009‑10 and 2010‑11. Our proposed options include eliminating or modifying 12 tax expenditure programs for a savings of $1.7 billion over the next two years. In general, these recommendations are based on our conclusion that these programs lack a strong rationale or are not sufficiently effective or efficient in achieving their stated goals. We also identify two targeted rate increases—increasing the vehicle license fee (VLF) to 1 percent and a three-year temporary PIT surcharge—that, combined, would raise $3.4 billion in 2009‑10 and $3.5 billion in 2010‑11. These options could be considered by the Legislature in lieu of any of the Governor’s revenue-related proposals. We believe these proposals have merit, both for tax policy reasons (for example, the VLF increase would result in all property in California taxed at the same rate) and for reducing the net impact of any rate increases on taxpayers (as both the VLF and PIT are deductible for federal tax purposes).


Perspectives on the State’s Revenue Structure

January 22, 2009 - Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor's presentation to the Commission on the 21st Century Economy.


Taxpayer Use and Administration of the Revised 540 2EZ Tax Form

January 5, 2009 - This report was prepared pursuant to Chapter 844, Statutes of 2004 (SB 1534, Johnson) which expands the income eligibility criteria for use of the 540 2EZ tax form in filing resident personal income taxes (PITs). The measure also requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to study the impact of the law change.


California's Fiscal Outlook: LAO Projections 2008-09 Through 2013-14

November 20, 2008 - The state’s struggling economy has severely reduced expected revenues. Combined with rising state expenses, we project that the state will need $27.8 billion in budget solutions over the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years. The state’s revenue collapse is so dramatic and the underlying economic factors are so weak that we forecast huge budget shortfalls through 2013-14 absent corrective action. From 2010-11 through 2013-14, we project annual shortfalls that are consistently in the range of $22 billion. Closing a projected $28 billion budget shortfall will be a monumental task. We believe the Legislature must take major ongoing actions by both reducing base spending and increasing revenues. If the Legislature has any hope of developing a fiscally responsible 2009–10 budget, it must begin laying the groundwork now.


Investment Income and the Insurance Gross Premiums Tax

July 24, 2008 - Submitted Pursuant to Chapter 868, Statutes of 2004 (AB 263, Oropeza)


Tax Expenditures and Revenue Options

April 7, 2008 - Presented to: Assembly Revenue and Taxation committee


Informational Hearing on Tax Expenditures

February 27, 2008 - Presented to Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee


LAO Revenue-Raising Proposals

February 20, 2008 - The Governor’s budget includes almost no new revenue-raising proposals. Given the magnitude of the budget problem, we examine the state’s existing tax structure in the same way as the spending side--with an eye towards reducing inefficient or ineffective provisions. In this section, we discuss proposals that look at the revenue side of the budget. In so doing, we have applied the same approach as with direct spending programs--that is, we have examined tax-related provisions referred to as tax expenditure programs (TEPs)--and recommended changes to those that are not achieving their stated purposes or are of a lower priority.


2008-09 Budget: Perspectives and Issues

February 20, 2008 - 2008-09 Budget: Perspectives and Issues


State Fiscal Picture 2008-09

February 20, 2008 - State Fiscal Picture 2008-09


Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 2008-09

February 20, 2008 - Perspectives on the Economy and Demographics 2008-09


Perspectives on State Revenues 2008-09

February 20, 2008 - Perspectives on State Revenues 2008-09


Tax Expenditure Reviews

November 16, 2007 - Tax expenditure programs (TEPs) are features of the tax code—including credits, deductions, exclusions, and exemptions—that enable a targeted set of taxpayers to reduce their taxes relative to what they would pay under a “basic” tax-law structure. The state’s TEPs number in the hundreds and are valued in the tens of billions of dollars annually, and are used mostly to encourage certain types of behavior or provide financial assistance to taxpayers. This report provides information on newly enacted TEPs and reviews selected existing TEPs as to their effectiveness and efficiency. One of these is the mortgage interest deduction, valued at about $5 billion yearly. This program is found to be an inefficient means of promoting home ownership, and options are offered for improving it, including capping the deduction amount or replacing it with a targeted tax credit.

Economy and Taxes Staff

Chas Alamo
(916) 319-8357
Personal Income Tax, Employment, and Labor Law
Ross Brown
(916) 319-8345
Property Taxes, Bonds, and the Economy
Ann Hollingshead
(916) 319-8305
State Budget and Federal Funding
Lourdes Morales
(916) 319-8320
Local Government, Housing, and Homelessness
Nick Schroeder
(916) 319-8314
Public Employment, CalPERS, Elections, Veterans Affairs
Bidusha Mudbhari
(916) 319-8363
Corporation Tax and Economic Development
Brian Uhler
(916) 319-8328
Deputy Legislative Analyst: Economy, Taxes, and Labor
Seth Kerstein
(916) 319-8365
Sales and Excise Taxes and Demographics