Last week Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger added to the financial woes and anxieties of California's senior and disabled renters. The Governor used his veto power to eliminate the California Senior Citizens Renters Tax Assistance program.
This $150 million tax rebate program provided much needed financial assistance to seniors, blind, and disabled Californians living on a fixed, low income.
The governor used his line-item veto power to eliminate the entire $150 million available for renters under the Senior Citizens Renters Tax Assistance program. The program, in effect for four decades, makes senior and disabled renters who earn less than $44,096 eligible for up to $347.50 as a tax rebate.
This was the governor's single biggest line-item veto in the budget.
This uncaring act shows the Governor's total disregard for the plight of our state's most economically vulnerable residents.
About 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.
Low-income seniors rely on these funds, and many have already filed applications for the tax rebate this year. With the governor's veto, the Franchise Tax Board now will not pay these claims.
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 will work with allies to send a message to the governor and to restore these critical funds to low-income senior and disabled renters. (Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival and an occasional contributor to CityWatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org) ◘
Vol 6 Issue 80
Pub: Oct 3, 2008
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