Sen. Leland Yee Wants Accountability For Corporate Tax Breaks
8:01 AM, May 16, 2011
The state of California has given away million of dollars in tax breaks in exchange for companies creating jobs for Californians, but a way to prove its effectiveness has not been found."I believe there are hundreds of millions of dollars; this is not a small amount," said Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco).The state does not know how much it has given in tax breaks and there is no direct proof jobs have been created, according to Yee.The 10News I-Team learned 20 other states track the amount of money given and the number of jobs created, but California is not among them."Unfortunately, we don't have the data to find out if the promises have been kept," said Yee.Last year, Yee introduced the Corporate Tax Accountability Bill for those who claim the credit. However, the bill died a quick death.According to MapLight.org, a website which tracks money and politics, 10News found the politicians who opposed Yee's bill received contributions from:
Commercial banks and bank holding companies (total of $367,9000)
Food stores ($163,600)
Biotech products and research ($163, 314)
Chambers of commerce ($101,555)
Katie Jacques, who teaches a graduate program on taxes at San Diego State University, reviewed the legislation for the I-Team and said, "We don't know for sure I think it's a good idea to have some sort of clawback provision."Clawback means taking back what's been given -- like a tax credit -- and it's a term being used in Sacramento once more.Yee is trying again through new legislation.According to the California Franchise Tax Board, Yee's new bill requires "taxpayers that claimed a business tax incentive to report employment information " to the tax board and in addition the board would "access a penalty" if their employment levels dropped "by more than 10 percent."The chambers of commerce, the banks and biotech lobbyists that showed up to a senate hearing were not completely happy with Yee's new bill. However, they did say compromise may be possible.Sen. Bob Huff said, "No one wants them to game the system, but you don't want your bill to put them out of business."A CALPIRG advocate said, "It will help ensure that they really do get jobs."On Monday, the revised bill was put on hold by San Diego Sen. Christine Kehoe's appropriations committee.While the bill is not dead, Kehoe's support can make or break it.