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Courage Campaign Slams Passage of AB 2372 As Smokescreen That Fails To Address the Major Problem

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Brett Abrams : 516-841-1105 :

Courage Campaign Slams Chamber of Commerce-backed Commercial Property Tax “Reform” Bill as a Smokescreen That Fails to Address a Major Problem

Statement by Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of the California-based Courage Campaign, on news that AB 2372, a commercial property tax reform measure, passed the California Assembly today:

“California is in desperate need of commercial property tax reform because corporations have successfully exploited loopholes for decades to avoid paying the same property taxes that every homeowner pays, robbing California of much needed revenue for schools, public safety and other local services we depend on. However, AB 2372, which passed the California Assembly today, utterly fails to address a commercial property tax system riddled with loopholes and perverse incentives.

“The bill ignores many of the existing loopholes currently exploited by corporations. In fact, the 3-year limit on transfers and 90% threshold would introduce a NEW loophole ripe for exploitation. The only loophole that it does close — private equity buyouts and full purchases of properties by multiple owners — is not closed retroactively, so even Michael Dell’s infamous purchase of the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica would go unaffected.

“We laud Asm. Tom Ammiano for his dogged pursuit of commercial property tax reform throughout his career. He is clearly trying to do right by Californians, but this bill as currently written is a mistake. It would only serve as a smokescreen for Big Business to pretend that something has been done, while enshrining old loopholes and creating new ones. A movement is afoot in California to enact meaningful commercial property tax reform. Big Business’ support for this legislation shows they acknowledge the failures of the current system and hope to avoid real reform by embracing this lip-service reform.

“We urge elected officials in Sacramento to do more than provide lip-service and take immediate action to permanently close the commercial property tax loophole in California.”

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Angela Chavez