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Tax Commission Meets In 24 Hours To Discuss ... Something

Publication Date: 
September 09, 2009
Sacramento Bee
Kevin Yamamura

Professor Joseph Bankman, a leading scholar in the field of tax law, is mentioned in this article as part of a legal expert panel advising the California tax commission:

The tax commission has just begun to post bill language of its proposals on its Web site. They include lower income-tax brackets, as well as the controversial Business Net Receipts Tax.

The 14-member tax commission plans to meet tomorrow at UCLA to finalize the package it will send the Legislature, trying to meet Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Sept. 20 deadline.


But it's not just special interests that have raised concerns. A diverse group of nine respected tax policy and law experts have submitted a four-page analysis to the commission advising it not to use the Business Net Receipts Tax. Among the experts are Stanford Law School's Joseph Bankman, UCLA School of Law's Kirk Stark, UC Davis economist Steven M. Sheffrin and the Hoover Institution's Charles McLure.

They note that the tax is largely unproven, could face legal challenges and have unintended consequences. "In most cases, fundamental tax reform is preceded by years of study, not months," they tell the commission, which began meeting in January and held its first and only workshops on the BNRT last month.

"In our view, the most advisable course of action at this stage would be to recommend several key reforms to the (retail sales tax) but not to recommend adopting the BNRT," they write. "Among the signatories to this letter, we differ on whether the BNRT idea is sufficiently promising to warrant further consideration in future tax reform efforts. We all agree, however, that recommending the adoption of the BNRT at this stage would be highly imprudent."