Tax Reform (past position, archived)

The taxation structure of the United States is complex since Federal, State, County, and Local governments can impose taxes. The Green Party of California believes a sound California community revenue generation and taxation system is rooted in a sustainable and equitable economic model that rewards individual and group contributions to the community, and that this is a humane system that takes better care of those who are incapable of caring for themselves. The Green Party believes that everyone and every business should pay their fair share of taxes.

Lower property taxes, high tax credits, & creative accounting have been responsible for company tax decreases relative to 1977-78. In 2010, California taxed 4.7% of what a business produced: Compare 5.4% in 2008, 9.7% in 1981, and 16% in 1977-78. In addition, people who earn less than $18,000 per year are required by state and local tax law to pay 11.2% of their annual income in taxes on average. However, the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers currently pay 7.2% of their annual income in income taxes. The 2010 deficit was $28 billion.
Prop 13 caused a California bailout of educational institutions and local governments to make up for their loss in property tax revenue. Some 70% of the state general fund goes to these entities. Since businesses change hands less frequently than individual homes, companies generally pay lower property taxes since Prop 13 passed in 1978.
The Green Party supports:
Graduated tax rates on California individuals and corporations The greater the profit the greater the tax rate.
Successful investor earnings be more highly taxed than worker wages, and that investor earnings be subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes just as are individual wages now.
All income (earned and unearned) should be taxed equally in a graduated, progressive manner.
Adjustment of industrial and commercial property taxes periodically but at least every 10 years, and also during all sales and transfers. We support the Proposition 13 clauses that protect home owners (especially retired elderly ones on fixed incomes) from displacement caused by increasingly higher property taxes. We support property tax exemptions for small businesses that do not make a profit-by intention as non-profits or by business circumstances. We support property tax exemptions for when a homeowner uses a homeowner float fund (loan) for short-term assistance on mortgages and when the homeowner wishes to extend the period prior to foreclosure, such that all monies offered for temporary assistance are to be repaid.
Repeal of the parts of Proposition 13 that require a two-thirds vote for any tax increase at the state level, and replace them with majority vote
A graduated excise tax on fees paid to registered lobbyists for both payer and payee
California's workers be allowed to subtract their FICA tax (that is, their Social Security/Medicare tax) from their state and local taxes.
High luxury, recreational, unrecyclable, and disposable items taxes.
Elimination of tax subsidies to real estate speculators (interest write-offs, depreciation deductions, depletion allowances, capital gain exclusions, and other exemptions and exclusions). Developmental projects that are linked to regional needs such as the construction of more new housing units close to public transportation should be exempted.
Implementation of resources extraction, use, storage, or abuse taxes for all resources such as oil, minerals, water, trees, and vegetation (California has no oil extraction tax).
Elimination of offshore sales to avoid taxes.
Payment of fees by institutions and businesses that use amenities/infrastructure paid for by state funds as commensurate with the duration, degree, and intensity of use up to the present, and/or actual environmental impact of such usage
Means test adjusted carbon taxes on air and water emissions from stationary and mobile sources.
Tax credits for those who contribute voluntarily or forego income to preserve ecosystems and to save, restore, recycle, conserve, protect , or improve the environment or implement eco-friendly measures.
Garbage taxes above the current stated garbage threshold charged to households for picking up excess household garbage.
Plastic bag taxes for shoppers where plastic bags are not banned.
Redress at the state level of loopholes in the Federal taxation system.
Research into fairer methods of taxation, for example, the use of a graduated gross or value-added tax (VAT) on specific practices of business, for example, sales taxes.