Three bills that obliquely attack state tax loopholes survived legislative votes Wednesday and are headed to uncertain fates on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk.
The three, while not a formal package, reflect pressures by unions and other liberal groups for closing loopholes, especially in corporate taxes, to raise state revenues and help close stubborn budget deficits.
The Assembly gave final approval to a bill that would require the Franchise Tax Board to assemble a list of publicly traded corporations that exercise state tax breaks and publish the list, including each firm's benefit, on the Internet. Assembly Bill 2666 is carried by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.
The Senate sent Schwarzenegger Senate Bill 1272 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, that would require tax breaks to have specific goals and "sunset" them after seven years.
The Assembly approved another Senate bill by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, that would require businesses claiming any new state tax break to report on how many new jobs the loophole created. The measure, SB 1391, needs a final Senate vote to reach Schwarzenegger.
Business groups and Republicans contend that cracking down on tax breaks will discourage job-creating investment. The debate over the bills is a tuneup for the forthcoming battle over Proposition 24, sponsored by unions and other liberal groups, that would repeal two major business tax breaks enacted by the Legislature last year.