Proposed corporate tax hike in California would aid homeless

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A California coalition is proposing laws to raise taxes for wealthy multinational corporations and raise more than $ 2 billion annually to shelter tens of thousands of the homeless.
Proponents say Assembly Bill 71 would reinvent California's approach to solving homelessness - for the first time ever, an ongoing, sufficient source of government funding to get people off the streets. Opponents say it adds to the perception that California is anti-business.
"Our state is facing an unprecedented homeless crisis that is on the verge of disaster due to the economic impact of COVID-19," Los Angeles Democratic MP Luz Rivas said on Wednesday, noting that one in four Americans is homeless in California .
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The state suffers from prohibitively high housing costs and wages that cannot keep up, leading to a growing gap between rich and poor. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the difficulty of staying at home for people who have no home. Officials took some people affected by homelessness to shelters, hotel rooms, or socially distant tents, although many are still sleeping outside.
The bill's chances are unknown, though Democrats, who are more likely to approve taxes on corporations, control both houses of the legislature.
At the same time, Governor Gavin Newsom opposed higher taxes for the rich when he released his budget plan last week, saying these taxes were "not part of the conversation". This is despite the fact that the Democratic governor dedicated his address for the state to homelessness last year and used the pandemic to secure thousands of hotel rooms that he hopes will lead to additional housing for an estimated 150,000 people.
This isn't the first time homeless people and housing attorneys have turned to those with deep pockets for money. In 2018, San Francisco voters approved a controversial tax on over-abundant businesses that fund homeless programs. The measure shared tech titans in the city.
Bill 71 would increase corporate tax from 8.84% to 9.6% for companies that generate profits of more than $ 5 million annually in California, said Christopher Martin, Housing California political director who supports the legislation. Proponents say the move would raise an estimated $ 2.4 billion a year.
Corporations pay a lower percentage of income taxes than they did 30 years ago, according to a May report by the California Budget and Policy Center. The bill would bring the tax rate back up to 1980, Martin said.
In the past few months, several tech companies and executives have left California, including Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, giving fodder to those who complain that California is unfriendly to business. However, Martin said the proposed tax hike would have no impact on where a company is headquartered or where its CEO lives since it taxes profits made in California.
Still, the California Taxpayers Association said lawmakers should focus on helping residents recover from the pandemic rather than getting a multi-billion dollar tax hike that only adds to the state's reputation as anti-business.
"We believe that just by proposing a large tax like this one, proponents will have a negative impact on the state's competitiveness with other states," said spokesman David Kline. He said anything that hinders economic recovery will harm California.
The Mayors of Oakland and Los Angeles said at a news conference that more than $ 2 billion in earmarked funds would be made available for more housing, permanent housing and social workers each year. They say they must ask Sacramento for money at every meeting to alleviate a problem that has long been considered a problem for cities and counties.
"This is a man-made problem that can be solved by people. I believe it is," said Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles I don't live on the streets anymore. How did we ever live like this? '"

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