Home>Highlight>Sen. Wiener Authors CA Estate Tax to ‘Alleviate Socio-Economic Inequality’

Sen. Scott Wiener (sd11.senate.ca.gov)
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Sen. Wiener Authors CA Estate Tax to ‘Alleviate Socio-Economic Inequality’

Wealth transfer taxes are progressive and double-taxation

By Katy Grimes, March 26, 2019 8:40 am

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced Tuesday that he has authored legislation to put a wealth estate tax on the California ballot in 2020 in order to create a new tax for wealthy Californians. Wiener claims this new wealth tax is needed to equalize President Donald Trump’s tax reform to what existed before the federal tax break was created. However, Wiener also says “SB 378 directs all collected estate taxes to a newly created special fund: the Children’s Wealth and Opportunity Building Fund.”

An estate tax constitutes “double taxation” because it applies to assets that already have been taxed once as income.

“It’s obscene that the federal estate tax exemption has escalated so dramatically,” Wiener said. SB 378 is a gut-and-amend bill, which previously was a regulatory bill for the Barbering and Cosmetology Act.

The once-Golden State of opportunity and innovation already ranks 48th in the Tax Foundation’s 2018 State Business Tax Climate Index. California ranked 50th on individual income taxes; 41st in sales taxes; 32nd in corporate taxes, 13th in property taxes; 13th in Unemployment insurance taxes. This is notable because the “wealthy” are often small business owners.

SB 378: Redistribution of Wealth

“This new fund directs estate tax proceeds toward programs and services that directly address and alleviate socio-economic inequality and build assets among people who have historically lacked them, including helping low income children build wealth through savings accounts,” Wiener said in a press statement.

Wiener said his estate tax will have a “lower exemption rate of $3.5 million ($7 million for a married couple). The tax phases out at the current federal estate tax exemption — $11.4 million ($22.8 million for a married couple) – thus avoiding double taxation. SB 378 contains the same exemptions as the federal estate tax (e.g., transfers to a surviving spouse and family farm exemptions) and the same tax rate (40%).”

Wiener claims his scheme will avoid double taxation, ignoring that estate taxes apply to state assets that already have been taxed once as income.

“As the federal government has slashed the estate tax for wealthy families, working class and low income families — particularly black and Latino families — have struggled and have little or no wealth to pay for college, purchase a home, or otherwise invest in their future,” Wiener said. “A California estate tax benefits low income families by helping them build wealth and end the cycle of inter-generational poverty.”

What exactly are Californians getting for the already highest-in-the-nation taxes? California schools rank at the bottom of the country on test scores, the infrastructure is not maintained and deteriorating, roads and highways are ignored, the forests are not cleared of dead trees, gas tax revenue is used for social programs, we have the highest poverty in the nation and one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, recreational pot is now legal, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has promised “guaranteed health care for all, a ‘Marshall Plan’ for affordable housing, a master plan for aging with dignity, a middle-class workforce strategy, a cradle-to-college promise for the next generation, and an all-hands approach to ending child poverty.”

Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?
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26 thoughts on “Sen. Wiener Authors CA Estate Tax to ‘Alleviate Socio-Economic Inequality’

    1. Interesting it’s attached to a barbering bill. He wants to give us a haircut twice. What is he a wise guy?

  1. Thanks, Scott Wiener, for saving us time and energy. You have made it very easy to immediately determine what the very worst proposed CA legislation is….. your name is on it.

  2. Why how creatively Marxist of Wiener to wave his “magic” wand and promise to enhance others lives with other peoples money.

  3. With people like Wiener and Newsom in power California will be the next Venezuela. Just keep voting for those Socialist/Communist that call themselves Democrats and I can guaranty it. All the more reason to get on board http://www.NewCaliforniaState.com and leave tyranny and socialism in the rearview mirror.

  4. The guy is the reincartaon of old Karl Marx. Steal from the earners and give it to the worthless so they will vote for you

  5. Of course a California legislator wants to go against voter wishes. Don’t you know? The California legislature is in direct opposition and openly hostile toward its constituents. The super-mega majority you all voted for. It’s a one-way street, don’t you know. Voters get duped into electing smiling baby kissers who made great campaign statements and promises. And then realize they just elected a moron to practically a lifetime job with full taxpayer provided pension and other life benefits, only to have that legislator propose and promote legislation that goes in direct opposition to voter wishes. This is the California you created.

  6. This “Suckramento” dictatorship will not rest until it has turned CA into a complete welfare state. We are close, but not 100% there yet. The surge in illegal immigration is speeding the process up however. More middleclass families are forced out, as state dependents are moving in. All it will take then is for a couple of big Silicon Valley companies to pull out and you will reach the tipping point.

    The definition of insanity is simply ignored by the voters.

  7. My husband and I have spent the last 35 years in Santa Maria building a small business. Neither of our children could afford to live in California, one to Washington one to Texas. I don’t know where we could go to escape these tax burdens everything we’ve built is here and we are too old to start over

  8. Wiener said. “A California estate tax benefits low income families by helping them build wealth and end the cycle of inter-generational poverty.” Building weath by STEALING is not building wealth. Wiener needs re-hab.

  9. You can’t compare a first generation immigrant to a third generation immigrant like myself. We started out as farmers, then college for the next generation then grad school my generation. I do not owe these people a single dime. They can build themselves up like my family did.

  10. This report is a lie. It implies that the tax is on everyone – not true – it will apply to less that 5% of the citizens of California.
    She claims it is a tax on money that has already been taxed (income) – not necessarily true; it is a tax ( if it is imposed on assets not income that may have been inherited, gifted,life insurance, grown, etc.) Don’t bullshit the public for your short-sighted ignorant view.

  11. NOTCE HOW HE WORDS IT ….. “the Children’s Wealth and Opportunity Building Fund”…. SO WHEN PEOPLE GO TO VOTE, IT WILL PASS…… MOST VOTERS DON’T EVEN TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE FINE PRINT OF BALLOT MEASURES…. THEY SEE THE FLASHY LIGHTS OF THE NAME AND THINK IT’S A “GOOD TAX”…… MARK MY WORDS….!

  12. Another reason to leave this shithole state of endless taxes. Once we’re all gone, who’s going to pay them? Dems are putting themselves in a corner. But they’ll get voted in every election, and that’s what they really want.

  13. Dude, I don’t know what all the fuss is about, just help me smoke this bowl and let’s go surf. You sound like my millionaire cousin that moved to Texas.

  14. CAREFULLY note this niggling detail that isn’t emphasized in the measure. The CA estate tax is currently zero. Under this change, the estate tax above $3.5 million for an individual would rise to FORTY PERCENT up to $11 million, at which time the federal estate tax kicks in. For married couples, it’s $7 million and $22 million respectively.

    The next highest state “death” tax is 20%. 30 states have NO death tax at all.

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