Moderator: Joe Henchman, VP for Legal and State Projects, Tax Foundation
Moderated by Joe Henchman, vice president for legal and state projects at the Tax Foundation in Washington, the keynote panel brought together diverse experts from competing points of view to tackle a range of tax issues affecting California.
Hon. Fiona Ma, CPA, Chairwoman, California Board of Equalization
State Board of Equalization Chair Fiona Ma shared some of the challenges and opportunities related to reforming the tax code to address potential revenue from legalized cannabis sales, and she gave a global perspective on managing California’s tax system.
Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, defended Prop 13 while also proposing some enhancements, such as making the benefit portable. He also gave a critique of the dominant approach to fiscal management in Sacramento that overly focuses on revenue without sufficient attention to the economic affects of taxation.
Ana Matosantos, Former California Finance Director, Prop 30 Consultant to California Teachers Association
Former state finance director Ana Matosantos, who is consulting to the California Teachers Association, highlighted the positive results of Proposition 30, which temporarily raised income taxes on top earners to fund education and social services. Arguing on behalf of CTA’s campaign to extend Prop 30, she noted that without the extension, there would be a $3 billion annual state budget shortfall and $5 billion in annual cuts to education.
Helena Jubany, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal, NAC Architecture
Helena Jubany, a principal with NAC Architecture and a member of the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter, shared her industry’s deep concerns about proposals to tax services in addition to goods. She noted that many professional services can be performed remotely, making it far too easy for services taxes to drive jobs out of California.
Rob Lapsley, President, California Business Roundtable
Rob Lapsely, president of the California Business Roundtable, demonstrated that California’s populations has increased but number of taxpayers has decreased, resulting in a net loss of about $26 billion in tax revenue. He gave a spirited critique of Sacramento’s budgeting, which appears to already assume the continuation of Prop 30’s “temporary” tax increases.
Matt Rodriguez, CEO, Rodriguez Strategies, American Beverage Association
Matt Rodriguez, CEO of Rodriguez Strategies, representing the American Beverage Association, made the case that targeted taxes on sweetened beverages are to actually passed on to customers and instead have the greatest impact on small business owners without actually creating consumer incentives toward healthier food and beverage choices.