Tax agency gets special treatment

Tax agency gets special treatment

Nov. 1, 2012

Katy Grimes: Californians already know that the thousands of laws and regulations passed every year by the Legislature rarely apply to government.

Now we have more evidence of this.

The Board of Equalization, the huge state agency charged with tax collection and administration, wants full reimbursement for the cost of implementing the new Lumber Tax, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013. But California’s retailers and businesses will only get a flat $250 from the state for their setup costs to add the new tax to retail computer systems.

Many retailers estimate thousands of dollars in extra costs for the initial setup.

Yet according to bill analysis, the new law said that retailers were entitled to reimbursement for the cost to update computer systems adding in the new tax. At a recent BOE board meeting, the agency decided against total reimbursement for retailers, but voted instead to give itself full reimbursement.

The BOE will probably hire new employees to write and implement the tax changes into their computer system, but retailers will have to make due with existing employees and budgets, or contract out for this, at their own expense.

Here’s what BOE board member George Runner had to say about the agency making sure that they received state reimbursement of all of their setup expenses, while showing little or no concern to businesses:



Lumber Tax

The legislation, which created the lumber tax on consumers, mandates a new state tax of 1 percent on all lumber sales in California, ostensibly to pay for “oversight of the timber industry.”

Agriculture and the construction industry will be especially hard hit by the tax, as will consumers looking to remodel, make repairs or home improvements.

But Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed the Legislature to pass AB 1492, insisted that the new tax “evens the playing field to protect California’s timber industry jobs.”


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