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Senator Steinberg Does Not View Altering Tax Expenditures to be a Tax Increase

As noted in Dan Walter’s Sacramento Bee column, Senator Darrel Steinberg explained at his press conference yesterday that, “Voters do not want us to burst out of the gate to raise more taxes.” Following that comment, a questioner (the audio is hard to hear, but it sounds like Walters himself) asks if the Senator views changes to “tax loopholes” and “Enterprise Zones” to be a tax increase. The Senator responded, “I do not.” Here is a video of the full exchange:

Clip from Senator Steinberg Press Conference 12/3/2012 from Max Shenker on Vimeo.

Here is the transcript of Senator Steinberg’s answer:

I do not. I mean, that is a definition made up by frankly the people who make others sign pledges in the other party. I think just as we have an obligation on the direct expenditure side to be careful and responsible about how we spend the taxpayer’s dollars, the same is true for money that is spent on tax expenditures. The New York Times had a big front page piece yesterday about how nationally and in many states that there is very little accountability around tax expenditures. I’m not against tax expenditures on principal. I may propose one or two, actually … I’m interested in a tax incentive that gives businesses incentive to partner with California high schools and create pathways and academies from high school to graduation to college to the work world. And I’m interested in giving businesses a higher rate of return, by the way, than what they can get in the private market if they can successfully partner with our public schools in that kind of fashion. So I’m not against it, but just like on the spending side, show us what you are producing. And so no, I do not consider modifying a tax expenditure to be a tax increase. That is, that is man made and just not – I don’t agree.

The video of the full press conference can be found on CalChannel.

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