Tax Check-Offs Signed into Law Will Have to Wait for Space

The Police Activities League, state veterans homes and the California Arts Council all will get a voluntary check-off slot on state tax forms – some day anyway – under legislation signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The GOP governor vetoed a fourth check-off that would cover the costs of a proposed California Youth Legislature. Schwarzenegger nixed the bill creating the youth legislature making the check-off bill unnecessary.

Like the other two bills signed by the governor, the measure to contribute to the Police Activities League, AB 658 by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, a Hayward Democrat, would only appear on the tax form if one of the 15 current check-offs falls off either by expiring or failing to met a $250,000 annual contribution threshold.

The bill benefiting the arts council is SB 1076, by Sen. Curren Price, an Inglewood Democrat.

Created in 1975 by then Gov. Jerry Brown, the 11-member council is charged with promoting arts in California.

Its budget has been reduced by some 80 percent since the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2002.

Schwarzenegger proposes $5.7 million for the council in his budget plan, 5 percent less than last year.

Veterans’ homes would receive contributions through AB 1088 by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a San Diego Republican.

The California Sea Otter Fund, one the current 15 check-offs, is scheduled to expire after the 2011 tax year. Six others expire after the 2012 tax year.

However several other check-offs are short of meeting the minimum contribution level to keep a place on the list.

The ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease Research Fund has received only $100,572 in contributions through August. It needs to reach a minimum of $250,000. The Municipal Shelter Spay and Neuter Fund needs $73,000 to hit its $250,000 minimum.

Squeaking by with $253,778 in contributions in 2009, the California Military Family Relief Fund must reach $279, 374 in 2010. Through August, it has logged $181,143 in contributions.

In vetoing the youth legislature which would have been composed of 14-year-olds through 18-year-olds whose goal was explore policy and fiscal options for their contemporaries, Schwarzenegger said:

I still encourage California youth to engage in the public policy issues that directly impact their lives such as education, employment, foster care, homelessness, and more. However, as most parents and adults can attest, I would also argue that youth do not need statutory authorization to have their voices and opinions heard. There are numerous organizations, entities and communications in which youth can be engaged in our legislative process.”




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