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Gaines Gazette: February 1, 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018

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 17 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 the new federal tax law changes and get all your important tax-related questions answered at this free Tax Help Day workshop.

WHEN:

Saturday, February 3, 2018
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

WHERE:

Maidu Community Center
1550 Maidu Drive
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 new tax law changes.

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.

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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South Placer Rotary Club

Senator Gaines speaks to South Placer Rotary Club members at a recent meeting.
Senator Gaines speaks to South Placer Rotary Club members at a recent meeting.

Thanks to the South Placer Rotary Club for inviting me to speak at a recent meeting. 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 community organizations this legislative session.

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Taxpayer Refund Bill

I recently announced legislation that will give the $6 billion budget surplus back to hard-working California families and businesses in the form of a refund check.

While California taxpayers continue struggling to make ends meet, Governor Brown reported that the state is sitting on a budget surplus of an additional, unexpected $6 billion. The reason there is a surplus is because Legislative Democrats have continued to overtax Californians and it’s time to send that money right back to taxpayer pocketbooks.

My legislation will take the state’s $6 billion surplus and return it to the taxpayers. Every Californian who filed taxes for 2016 will get their share of that surplus back in a refund check from the government that could amount to hundred dollars per taxpayer.

I know the legislature will be tempted to continue the tax-and-spend cycle by sinking every extra dollar into expanding an ever-growing list of government services and projects, like granting more rights to undocumented immigrants and funding the boondoggle that is High Speed Rail.

But we cannot continue to price families and small businesses out of the state, sending them to neighboring states where the tax burden is much lower. We can’t keep fixed-income seniors teetering on the edge of poverty. That’s why I’m carrying a bill to get every single tax filer a refund of the money they overpaid to the government. It’s their money and it’s our obligation to return it.

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Police Dog Protection Act Of 2018

Senator Gaines discusses SB 911 with Nikki Laurenzo with Fox 40 News.
Senator Gaines discusses SB 911 with Nikki Laurenzo with Fox 40 News.

Senate Bill 911 is a piece of legislation that I have introduced this session that will ensure killers of police dogs are prosecuted as felons.

Everyone is safer when police dogs are on the front lines of duty with their human partners, from law enforcement and victims to the community-at-large. These animals risk their lives to serve and protect. It’s our duty to make sure we are protecting them by toughening penalties if they are harmed.

Senate Bill 911, the Police Dog Protection Act of 2018, will make it a mandatory felony for intentionally killing or inflicting serious injury to a police dog or police horse in the line of duty. Current law involving injury to police animals is a “wobbler,” meaning that either a misdemeanor or a felony can be charged depending on the circumstances. SB 911 makes it an automatic felony.

Police animals are a significant investment of taxpayer dollars. For example, it can cost police agencies about $10,000 to buy a K-9 dog and as much as $100,000 for training, equipment and care throughout its career.

At least 10 police dogs have been killed in the line of duty over the past five years in California. Nationally, 24 police dogs were killed in action in 2017.

State law needs to be toughened so we don’t have to add to those statistics. We want to make it clear that harming a member of our law enforcement community – dog, horse or human – will result in serious consequences. My hope is that by increasing the penalty, we will decrease the death statistics for these brave animals.

A police dog or “K-9” is a dog that is specifically trained to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel. Their duties include: searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence, and protecting their handlers. Police dogs are trained using verbal cues and hand gestures. The most commonly used breeds are the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Rottweiler.

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Seeking Interns

Are you a high school or college student looking for an internship in the fast-paced world of state government? My office wants to have you join our team! We are currently hiring interns for the upcoming spring or summer months at our Capitol Office and District Offices in Granite Bay and Redding. Not only will you gain work experience in an office setting, but you will also play a role in shaping the future of California. Our interns assist staff in every facet of their jobs. If you have a passion for policy, government, or people, our office is the perfect place for you! For more information, visit the “Internship Opportunities” page on my web site.

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Governor Brown’s 2018 State Of The State Address

Last month, Governor Jerry Brown gave his last State of the State address, which he delivered to a joint session of the Legislature and the people of California.

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.

High Speed Rail is the first transportation system to run entirely on taxpayer money, a miracle fuel that Governor Brown imagines never runs out. The “train to nowhere” is such a colossal waste of cash that could be used to repair our crumbling roads or invest in our universities or any one of a thousand other, better uses.

California has the highest poverty rate in the nation because the state is so expensive. Taxpayers will foot the bill for High Speed Rail, but they also pay electricity rates that are almost 50-percent higher than the national average. Our gas taxes just shot up by twelve-cents a gallon with more major increases to come. Our absurd housing costs are unaffordable to vast swaths of people. Those costs are the results of policy decisions by liberal legislators and the Governor.

The federal government cut taxes to put money back into families’ pockets. California is proposing to double the state corporate tax and creating gimmicky tax schemes to keep personal taxes high. It never ends. Maybe it’s time the Golden State takes a lesson from the new Washington, D.C.

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February Is American Heart Month

American Heart Association - Go Red for Women 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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Perfect Score On Behalf Of Small Business

I’m proud to report I scored 100 percent on the National Federation of Independent Business/California’s (NFIB/CA) 2017 Legislative Voting Record for my support of small business. I was one of only 22 state legislators out of the 120 Assembly and Senate members to receive the perfect score.

As a small business owner myself, I know first-hand the hurdles and burdens California’s job creators face every day. I am committed to generating opportunities for small businesses to thrive, not stifling their growth with excessive taxes and onerous regulations.

NFIB/CA’s Voting Record is designed to provide a critical evaluation of a legislator’s attitude towards small business. NFIB/CA is the state’s leading nonprofit, nonpartisan small business association representing more than 22,000 small and independent businesses in California.

The Voting Record is developed by selecting key bills which would have the most significant impact, either positive or negative, on small businesses. The votes on those bills are then recorded and a percentage is determined for each member of the Assembly and Senate.

The NFIB/CA Voting Record, with descriptions of the bills used in the report, is available at http://www.nfib.com/california/voting-record/.

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