February 21, 2018 - The Governor proposes extending the California Competes tax credit for five years. We recommend rejecting the administration’s proposal to extend the California Competes tax credit because of problems that are inherent in and unavoidable for these types of programs. If the Legislature chooses to extend California Competes, we offer several suggestions that may alleviate some of its problems.
March 30, 2020 - California Competes is an economic development tax incentive program that allows the administration to negotiate tax credit agreements with individual companies that agree to meet multiyear hiring and investment targets. In this report we provide background information about the California Competes program and the changes that the Legislature made in 2018. Next, we describe the effects of these changes on the program in 2018‑19, the first year of their implementation. We then assess how the changes have affected the administration of the California Competes program and consider whether it is more or less effective than before. Lastly, looking forward, we suggest working to find ways to expand the pool of qualified applicants and advise the Legislature to continue its oversight of the program.
January 28, 2021 - The Governor’s budget proposes several changes to taxation to support businesses. Two key factors for evaluating these proposals are: (1) which level of government would forgo revenue; and (2) which businesses would receive assistance. Based on these criteria and others, we recommend that the Legislature prioritize expansion of the Main Street credit, explore alternative structures for an elective S Corporation tax, and reject the proposed one-time expansions of the CAEATFA exclusion and California Competes.
February 27, 2017 - In this analysis, we discuss our findings and recommendations regarding the Governor's proposals regarding the California Competes tax credit program. This affects two departments: (1) the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and (2) Franchise Tax Board.
December 30, 2003 - The value of the EZC program is quite dependent on the goals that the Legislature wishes to achieve. Available evidence generally indicates that EZ incentives have little if any impact on the creation of new economic activity or employment. On the other hand, EZ incentives do appear to be effective in increasing economic activity within smaller geographic areas—such as within metropolitan regions.
March 1, 2016 - Presented to: Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy
March 13, 2014 - This letter responds to a request concerning California corporate tax trends, as discussed in the January 23, 2014 meeting of the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review. In nominal terms, the state's corporation tax has tended to grow over time, but it is a volatile tax. Moreover, since the mid-1980s, various legislative actions have reduced revenues this tax produces for the state General Fund.
April 7, 2008 - Presented to: Assembly Revenue and Taxation committee
March 10, 2010 - Presented to Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee
February 20, 2008 - 2008-09 Budget: Perspectives and Issues
February 16, 2011 - Presented to Senate Governance and Finance Committee
February 7, 2011 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration and Revenue and Taxation
February 3, 2017 - Chapter 496 of 2011 (SB 617, Calderon) made significant changes to the way California analyzes and reviews major regulations under the state's Administrative Procedures Act (APA). These changes were intended to promote regulations that achieve the Legislature's policy goals in a more cost‑effective manner. In this report, we provide a brief description of California's regulatory process, the potential value of regulatory analysis, and the recent changes made by SB 617. Although there have been some improvements in recent years, we identify some significant limitations that still remain. We provide recommendations that are aimed at addressing these limitations by ensuring that the potential effects of regulations are thoroughly analyzed and regulators are implementing the Legislature's policy direction in the most cost-effective manner.
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.