Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Faith, labor groups call for passage of Prop 39
A group comprised of various faith-based and labor-backed organizations led by Rabbi Laurie Coskey of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice gathered this afternoon to speak out in favor of Proposition 39, which would eliminate an option for businesses that have operations both in California and other states to calculate their state taxes in two different fashions, and then pay taxes based on the lowest result. The expected result: $1 billion in new tax revenues, which would be used to close the state budget shortfall and fund a new green-energy program.
Drawing attention to the jobs that would supposedly be created from the program, the announcement was held at the San Diego Community College District’s Sustainability Training and Resource Center in the Mountain View neighborhood, a classroom where students learn about construction and installation of environmentally-friendly building features such as solar panels.
“An important aspect of ending the tax break for out-of-state corporations here in California is that half of the estimated $1 billion that will be recaptured will go to funding green technology training programs like those found here in the [training] center,” offered District president Anthony Beebe.
Opponents of the measure say that California already has an economic climate that’s not attractive to business, and that removing the tax calculation option would further discourage businesses from operating in California. General Motors, International Paper, Kimberley-Clark, and Chrysler, who since 2006 have earned $42.4 million from state contracts, have all voiced opposition to Prop 39.
They haven’t offered financial backing, though, as the opposition campaign as of last week had only $45,000 on hand. Proponents, largely buoyed by $21.9 million from liberal Bay Area hedge fund billionaire Thomas Steyer, reported a total of $23.2 million.
“We always talk about other states and how much better a job [other states] do at attracting business,” said Jim Waring, president and CEO of CleanTech San Diego, a non-profit group whose member businesses could benefit from expanded green energy spending. He was introduced as “probably the leader of the Prop 39 movement in San Diego.”
“Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, and New York, to name just four, have the same type of taxation structure as would be imposed by Prop 39. Other states are already doing what Prop 39 would allow this state to do,” said Waring.
Representatives of Faith Leaders for Jobs, Environment, and Community, another group present, read aloud an open letter also backing the initiative.