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CES In The News
Monday September 29, 2008

Governor Cuts Senior & Disabled Renters Tax Rebates

By Ryan Gierach

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signing a bill.  Photo by Weho News.

West Hollywood, California  - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated the California Senior Citizens Renters Tax Assistance program last week by line item veto.

The program, four decades old, made senior and disabled renters who earn less than $44,096 eligible for up to $347.50 as a tax rebate.

The program appeared to be the largest expenditure in a set of line item vetoes issued by the governor's office in a flurry of bill signings after the state's budget crisis closed.

According to Larry Gross, Executive Director of the Los Angeles-based tenants' rights organization the Coalition for Economic Survival, "This $150 million tax rebate program provided much needed financial assistance to seniors, blind, and disabled Californians living on a fixed, low income."

Statewide, roughly 130,000 seniors earning less than $42,770 received renters' tax assistance last year, up to $348 annually on a sliding scale.

About 450,000 seniors received property tax assistance, up to $473.

It was unclear at publication time how many WeHo seniors and/or disabled people took part in the program.

Low-income seniors rely on these funds, and many have already filed applications for the tax rebate this year, according to a statement issued by CES; with the governor's veto, the Franchise Tax Board now will not pay these claims.

Photo by Weho News.

"This uncaring act shows the Governor's total disregard for the plight of our state's most economically vulnerable residents," said Gross.

 Assemblyman John Laird (D -- Santa Cruz), chair of the assembly budget committee, characterized the cuts to the tax assistance program as "unconscionable."

The Coalition for Economic Survival vowed in its statement to work with allies to send a message to the governor and to restore these critical funds to low-income senior and disabled renters.

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