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Does taxation equal stagnation?

Aggressive policies may not create economic prosperity

Posted: August 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.

George Runner, member of the state Board of Equalization, spoke with members of the Valley Industry Association Tuesday at the Valencia Country Club. Josh Premako/For The Signal


Asking whether “California can really tax itself into prosperity” was the theme of keynote speaker George Runner’s address Tuesday at the Valley Industry Association’s luncheon.

Former state senator and elected member of the state Board of Equalization’s second district, Runner is focused on improving the state’s tax policies and practices to help create and retain more private sector jobs, he said.

California is a challenging place to do business, and the state should view businesses as its partners rather than adversaries, Runner said.

“Attempting to grow California through aggressive tax policies won’t work,” he said.

“California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and CEOs rate it as one of the worst places to do business. It used to be a state of opportunity.”

Although the nation’s ongoing economic growth is a hopeful sign, Runner said he believes California’s economic growth will lag behind — that the state will not be a leader unless policies change.

One “unfriendly business” practice cited by Runner is for a seller’s permit, which is required of many California companies. The state requires a startup business to deposit money with the state Board of Equalization before the company has even had any sales. The money is held in reserve by the state and cannot be used by the company to apply against sales taxes due, he said.

“We’re working to change that policy,” Runner said.

For the state to become a leader again, and encourage new businesses, entrepreneurs and job creation, it cannot afford to tax itself into economic stagnation, he said.




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