Gaines Gazette: February 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Free Tax Help Day Workshop

California has among the highest personal income tax rates in the country. California’s state and local governments collect about $250 billion in taxes every year, $6,000-plus per Californian. Don’t get stuck paying the government one penny more than necessary.

This year’s income tax deadline of April 18 is quickly approaching. With each New Year comes new laws and regulations that may affect your tax filings. Make sure you’re up-to-date on any changes and get all your important tax-related questions answered at this free Tax Help Day workshop.

WHEN:

Saturday, February 4, 2017
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

WHERE:

Maidu Community Center
1550 Maidu Drive, Room 2
Roseville, CA 95661

Tax Help Day is a free workshop hosted by the California Society of Enrolled Agents, a nonprofit organization serving thousands of Enrolled Agents and other tax practitioners across California. Local tax professionals will be giving brief tax-related talks and will be available to answer questions on a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Business deductions
  • Buying a home
  • Retirement planning
  • Rental properties
  • Tax credits

Please bring any relevant tax documents and information so volunteers can better assist you. For more information, call 1-800-TaxPro-5 or email info@csea.org. Volunteer Enrolled Agents will not charge for answering questions during this workshop and will not prepare any tax returns, nor will they provide any written advice or bill anyone.

District office staff will also be available to assist with any state-related matters. If you have any questions about the event or need additional information, please contact my El Dorado Hills district office at (916) 933-7213.

Any information, materials, or services provided at this event are the sole responsibility of the provider of the information, materials, or services and do not constitute legal services or tax advice from the California State Senate.

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National School Choice Week

Senator Gaines presents Lance Izumi of the Pacific Research Institute with a Senate resolution recognizing National School Choice Week. They are wearing school bus yellow scarves to celebrate the week.
Senator Gaines presents Lance Izumi of the Pacific Research Institute with a Senate resolution recognizing National School Choice Week. They are wearing school bus yellow scarves to celebrate the week.

I was proud to present the Pacific Research Institute with a Senate resolution commemorating National School Choice Week in California. National School Choice Week, held every January, is the world’s largest celebration of opportunity in education. It marks efforts throughout California and across the nation to empower parents to choose the best education options for their children. California has been in the forefront in some areas of school choice, such as public charter schools. There are areas, however, where we can do better. We can look at other states, such as our neighbors in Nevada, which have empowered parents to choose the best public or private education option for their children. I vow to continue to support school choice here in our Golden State.

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Condemning Hiring Of Eric Holder

Last month, California’s Democratic legislative leaders made the premature decision to hire outside legal counsel to advise on potential legal challenges with the Trump Administration.

They made this rash decision to hire a high-powered former U.S. Attorney General and his legal team of overpriced lawyers to fight Trump’s policies when President Trump hadn’t even been sworn into office. That’s the job of our state attorney general and the team of smart, capable legislative lawyers already on the payroll. Instead, we’re putting an unelected individual in charge of protecting California against possible federal overreach.

My Democrat colleagues are spending tens of thousands of dollars attempting to “safeguard the values” of Californians based on tweets and phantom proposals. What about the 4.2 million California voters who supported Trump?

Hardworking California taxpayers will be footing the bill for these exorbitant attorney fees. My constituents deserve tax relief, not more irresponsible, unnecessary government squandering that will be taken right out of their pockets.

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Governor’s 2016 State Of The State Address & 2016/17 Budget

Governor Jerry Brown recently delivered his 2017-2018 state budget proposal and his annual State of the State address.

The Sacramento River is currently surging with enough water every day to supply the needs of 150,000 families for an entire year. But instead of capturing that water in reservoirs, it’s being diverted into open fields or running uselessly out into the sea. I wish Governor Brown had called out the serious lack of water storage in this state and made a commitment to knock down any barrier to building more. We wouldn’t have to cut off water to farmers or fine people for their personal water use if we built the water infrastructure we desperately need.

I’m glad that the state’s revenues are still healthy, but that will mean nothing if we don’t get our spending priorities straight and cut spending overall. Any bit of fiscal news that sounds promising for the state completely ignores the massive, looming catastrophe that is our public pension system. Our unfunded liability could be half a trillion dollars ― trillion, not billion. That money we owe won’t get us anything new ― not another road or dam or officer patrolling the streets. It’s for services we’ve already consumed. This debt won’t go away by ignoring it, and the Governor should develop a concrete plan to pay it down and rein in runaway pension benefits.

The Governor discussed the state of the state, but what about the state of the taxpayer? California has some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads. That’s not a winning combination for taxpayers, but it seems to be the new California way. I hoped to hear more about the Governor’s vision for solving those massive problems without crushing taxpayers. How he can support the colossal waste of money that is High Speed Rail when our highways are falling apart?

The federal government is going to be cutting taxes and building infrastructure across the country. California is always raising taxes to build almost nothing. Maybe it’s time the Golden State takes a lesson from the new Washington, D.C.

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Thoughts On Tax-Spiking Transportation Proposals

The California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee recently held a hearing on infrastructure funding.

Is anyone shocked that the proposed solutions to a very real transportation infrastructure crisis are more taxes and fees? It’s all Sacramento knows and it’s a tired formula that punishes taxpayers for the sins of the politicians.

We already have some of the highest gas taxes and worst roads in the country. High Speed Rail needs to be put out of its misery before families pay another penny in gas taxes. The California Department of Transportation is overstaffed by 1,500 people, wasting $500 million every year. Cut that fat before forcing people to pay a new registration fee for their cars. California diverts a billion dollars in weight fees away from transportation infrastructure every single year. Let’s put that money back into road building before shaking down commuters and businesses even more.

Californians are getting thirty-three cents on the dollar for their transportation spending and pay about three times the national average per mile of road maintenance. That begs for regulatory reform so that meaningless red tape doesn’t get in the way of delivering infrastructure at a cost that’s fair to taxpayers.

The new Washington, D.C. is proposing a massive infrastructure investment, common-sense, money-saving regulatory reforms, and cutting taxes ― all at the same time. California needs to follow Washington’s lead instead of continuing to reach into hardworking taxpayers’ pockets.

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February Is American Heart Month

American Heart Association - Heart Month Logo

February is American Heart Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease as the #1 killer of Americans and promoting heart health. Will you join me in showing your support for heart health?

Here’s how you can participate:

  • Go Red. Show your support throughout the month of February and encourage others to do the same. Collective action can make a life-and-death difference.
  • Share your story. Inspire others and be inspired. Tell your story, offer your wisdom and learn from others.
  • Take care of your heart. To make a habit of healthier food choices, click here.
  • Donate to help save lives. The American Heart Association uses donations to support awareness, research, education and community programs benefiting all Americans.
  • Demand change. Speak up for public policies that advance heart health. Become a voice within your community and others will join in.

Help us make America go red and save lives! Thanks for celebrating American Heart Month. Together, we can end heart disease.

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El Dorado County Chamber Of Commerce

Senator Gaines speaks to El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce members during their luncheon.
Senator Gaines speaks to El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce members during their luncheon.

Thanks to the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to speak during their January luncheon. We had a great discussion and I was able to share updates on what’s happening at the Capitol in terms of the state budget, my package of legislation and various tax proposals being put forward. As always, I look forward to working with the business community this legislative session.

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Recognizing Uber Driver Keith Avila

Senator Gaines presents Keith Avila, the Uber driver who saved a teen from being sex trafficked, with a Senate Resolution.
Senator Gaines presents Keith Avila, the Uber driver who saved a teen from being sex trafficked, with a Senate Resolution.

I was honored to welcome Keith Avila, the Uber driver who saved a teen from being sex trafficked, at the State Capitol where I presented him with a Senate Resolution recognizing his heroic efforts.

On December 26, 2016, Keith arrived in a Sacramento neighborhood to pick up three female passengers. One of them was a minor who wanted to be taken to a hotel in Elk Grove. During the trip, Keith overheard a conversation that convinced him that the very young-looking woman was about to be pimped by her two older companions. After he dropped the women off at the hotel, he did what many others may not have done. He took immediate action and alerted the Elk Grove police. Thanks to Keith’s accurate assessment of the situation and his willingness to become involved, the two older women were arrested, charged with pimping and pandering and jailed. The 16 year old runaway teen was provided with shelter and assistance.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that affects an estimated 800,000 victims a year globally and an estimated 15,000 to 17,000 Americans. That is why I introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 15, which proclaims the month of January 2017 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Through public education and awareness, we may be able to identify victims and restore their individual freedoms as well as their physical, mental and emotional state.

A number of organizations and law enforcement throughout the state and country are working tirelessly to provide the needed resources to combat human trafficking and prosecute perpetrators of these egregious crimes.

As with anything, much more can be done and it is important to continue the discussion and bring this serious issue that exists in our country out from the shadows and into the light.

This is one of the most unifying social justice issues of our time. May we continue to work every day to fight to eradicate this evil from our communities and from the world.

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