Abolish the Board of Equalization? + Shielding doctors + California’s high-income exodus
Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WOULD ABOLISH THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
California lawmakers are looking to give several statewide elected offices the ax. Earlier this month, it was Assemblyman Kevin McCarty’s ACA 9 to eliminate the office of the state superintendent of public instruction. Now, it’s Assemblyman Phil Ting’s ACA 11 to do the same to the California Board of Equalization.
In a press conference Tuesday, Ting, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee, called the board a relic. .
Created in 1879, the board consists of four members and the state controller, who are responsible for assessing utilities and railroads. It also offers best practices, surveys and audits for the state’s 58 county assessors.
The board’s portfolio was once broader — it oversaw collection of many state taxes — but that changed six years ago, after state audits found that it had mishandled millions of dollars.
“In 2017, as Assembly Budget chair, I was proud to lead the effort where we removed about 90% of the BOE staff and formed two new agencies — the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration as well as the Office of Taxpayer Appeals,” Ting said.
He said that around 500 people still work for the board, and that eliminating it would save the state as much as $35 million.
“We want to make sure those functions would be absorbed either by CDTFA or OTA or some other agency, and we think that they would be more efficient over time,” he said.
Ting said that his proposed constitutional amendment isn’t about any specific elected official. He said California is unique for having an elected tax agency, and that it is widely seen as inefficient.
“This is about structurally what’s needed to be done,” Ting said.
As a proposed constitutional amendment, ACA 11 needs a two-thirds majority in both the Assembly and the Senate. If it gets that far, it then must be ratified by California voters in the next election.
ATKINS BILL WOULD SHIELD ABORTION, GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE PROVIDERS
Health care providers who offer abortion or gender-affirming care services could not be penalized by health insurance companies or health care service plans, under a bill introduced by Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.
SB 487 also would block providers from being suspended by Medi-Cal if they are suspended in another state for offering abortion or gender-affirming services.
“Almost a third of individuals of reproductive age in this country live in a state where abortion is now illegal or is severely restricted,” Atkins said in a statement. “Since the Dobbs’ decision last year, licensed providers in California have seen a steady influx of people coming here from those states where abortion is restricted.”
Atkins went on to say that some California health care providers have even traveled to other states, where abortion or gender-affirming care is restricted, “to help those in need of care.”
Atkins said that her bill would shield providers from out-of-state sanctions that could disrupt their ability to perform abortion care in California, where it remains legal and enshrined in the state constitution.
The bill is currently under review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will take it up at a future hearing.
CALIFORNIA NOW LOSING HIGH-INCOME RESIDENTS AS WELL
California has seen a steady loss of residents to other states over the years. That’s old news. . But, as the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California points out in a new blog post, out-migration now includes a growing proportion of higher-income households as well.
In 2020 and 2021 — the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — California saw a significant uptick in people with a bachelor’s degree or more leaving the state, PPIC reports, “from less than 150,000 in 2019 to almost 220,000 by 2021.”
Among those high-income Californians who have left the state, more than half (53%) said that they work from home.
Why are they leaving?
Well, for some, politics plays a role. But for many, it’s the high cost and low availability of housing in the state that’s driving people to move out.
As previously reported by the PPIC, 34% of Californians have reported seriously considering leaving the state due to the high cost of housing here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Weird to see that the Capitol’s bathrooms are charging for menstrual products after lawmakers required public schools and entities to provide them free of charge.”
- Los Angeles Times reporter (and Sac Bee alum) Hannah Wiley, via Twitter.
Best of The Bee:
The five-striped transgender pride flag, featuring the colors of light blue, pink and white, will fly over the Sacramento City Unified School District headquarters for the rest of the month after a historic flag-raising ceremony Monday in advance of the Trans Day of Visibility on March 31, via Renée C. Byer.