published on April 2, 2019 - 10:29 AM
Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.

Success is increasingly becoming a dirty word in California, and if the Legislature has its say, voters could soon have the opportunity to create a disincentive for achieving it.

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) last week introduced Senate Bill 378, which would impose a 40-percent tax on California estates above a $3.5 million exemption rate, or $7 million for a married couple.

This is another insidious example of government-mandated income redistribution. In announcing SB 378, Wiener stated the estimated $500 million and $1 billion the estate tax would generate each year would be directed “toward programs and services that directly address and alleviate socio-economic inequality.”

It’s also an example of California legislators attempting an end-run around federal law, as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tweaked the federal estate tax by increasing the exemption to $11.4 million for individuals, and $22.8 million for married couples.

This law also attempts to circumvent the will of California voters, who in 1982 approved ballot measures that banned a state-level estate tax.

If SB 378 passes the legislature, it would have to be approved by voters in the November 2020 statewide election.

What incentive would anyone in California have to build wealth and success if their estate must be liquidated in order to be passed to the next generation?

Be sure to contact your elected officials in Sacramento and tell them success shouldn’t be penalized. Vote no on SB 378.

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