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Five out-of-state corporations are banding together to fight efforts by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez to hike taxes on some out-of-state firms to fund a billion-dollar relief plan for college students.

Chrysler, General Motors, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble all stand to lose under Pérez's Assembly Bill 1500 and have formed a coalition called California Employers Against Higher Taxes, spokesman Peter DeMarco said today.

The corporations are speaking jointly through a Sacramento consulting firm, Randle Communications, and they have launched a website, But the coalition has not hired lobbyists or made political contributions DeMarco said.

Pérez's AB 1500 would raise taxes on various corporations by requiring that companies operating in multiple states calculate tax liability based on the portion of sales in California.

The tax portion of Pérez's package would eliminate a component of a 2009 state budget deal that allowed firms to pick the more advantageous of two formulas for calculating tax liability. Pérez's plan would force use of one formula, called the "single sales factor."

Touting AB 1500 as a middle-class scholarship, Pérez said that funds generated by it would cut by two-thirds the cost of attending state universities for families earning less than $150,000 per year.

The bill also would augment community college funding statewide by $150 million statewide, Pérez said.

DeMarco said that AB 1500 would have a chilling effect on job creation in a time of economic distress. What good is a middle-class college scholarship plan if its ultimate effect is to reduce middle-class jobs, he asks.

"It's a billion dollar tax increase," DeMarco said.

John Vigna, spokesman for Pérez, said that AB 1500's benefits to middle-class families are enormous.

"Every member of the Legislature will have a choice: Will they stand with major out-of-state corporations or with working families?" Vigna said. "We believe that the Legislature will stand with California's middle-class families."

* Updated at 3:40 p.m. to add comment by John Vigna, spokesman for Assembly Speaker's Office.


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