Bill Giving Tax Relief to Homeowners and Renters Passes First Hurdle

Source: Office of Assemblyman Matthew Harper  |  2017-05-17

On May 16th, Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) and Assemblyman Phillip Chen (R- Diamond Bar) announced the passage of their “American Dream” bill which increases the existing homeowners’ exemption on their property tax from $7,000 to $25,000, giving relief to homeowners, renters and those aspiring to own a home.

“Homeowners and renters in California are paying some of the highest overall taxes in the nation,” Assemblyman Harper said. “It’s about time that the size of the homeowner’s property tax exemption kept up with the increases in cost of living. Also, I want to thank Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish for working with me to bring this bill forward.”

“High property taxes are making it impossible for too many Californians, who spent their lifetime living and working here, to stay”, said Assemblyman Phillip Chen. This bill would provide immediate relief for millions of homeowners with an emphasis on helping those whose taxes far exceed their ability to pay.”

The homeowner’s exemption hasn’t been increased in 40 years. Meanwhile, the cost of a median priced house has increased from $21,000 to over $450,000, and represents a home that only 30 percent of Californians can afford to purchase. California has a housing crisis and providing tax relief for homeowners and renters will unquestionably lead to enhanced economic stability,” said David Wolfe, Legislative Director with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

The “American Dream” bill will also adjust the renter’s credit by a corresponding amount.


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Senator Gaines Issues Statement on Governor’s Budget Revise

Source: Office of Senator Ted Gaines  |  2017-05-16

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) issued the following statement regarding Governor Brown’s revised 2017-18 state budget proposal:

“I demand a full and complete explanation as to why Californians’ truck weight fees have been diverted from their true purpose over the past five years and why our sky high gas taxes have not been enough to pay for our roads. Instead, we’re now forced to pay $5 billion more per year for increased gas taxes and vehicle fees to fix roads.

“California's income tax collections were nearly $1 billion short of projections during the month of April. I know the legislature will be tempted to sink every last dollar into new and ongoing spending programs at a time when we should heed State Controller Betty Yee’s warning that we may be ‘inching towards an economic downturn’ and that we must ‘tailor our spending accordingly.’

“Brown continues to sound all the right notes about fiscal discipline and debt reduction, but has the largest ever state spending plan, out of whack spending priorities and little accountability. Overtaxed Californians need relief, not a continuation of the government’s never ending tax and spend cycle that makes California so unaffordable.”

To view the entire revised budget, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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IRS Tips on What to do After the Tax-Filing Deadline

Source: Internal Revenue Service  |  2017-05-10

Tax day has come and gone for most people, but some taxpayers may still be dealing with their taxes. The IRS offers these tips for handling some typical after-tax-day issues:

Didn’t File by April 18?

There is no penalty for filing a late return after the tax deadline if the taxpayer receives a refund. Penalties and interest only accrue on unfiled returns if taxes are not paid by April 18. Anyone who did not file and owes tax should file a return as soon as they can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest. IRS Free File is available on IRS.gov to prepare and file returns electronically through October 16.

“Where’s My Refund?”

The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is available on www.IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. Taxpayers need specific information to use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. That information includes the primary Social Security number on the return, the filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, etc.) and the amount of refund.

Changing Withholding?

Events – like a change in marital status – during the year may change the exemptions, adjustments, deductions or credits a taxpayer expects to claim on next year’s return. Employees can use the IRS’s online Withholding Calculator to figure and then adjust their withholding by filling out a new Form W-4, normally with the company’s personnel office. Taxpayers who do not have taxes withheld from their pay or don’t have enough tax withheld, may need to make estimated tax payments. Taxpayers who are self-employed normally need to make estimated payments that can be adjusted to avoid a balance due in the future.

Need to View a Tax Account Balance or Make a Payment?

Taxpayers who owe taxes can view their balance, pay with IRS Direct Pay, by debit or credit card or apply for an online payment agreement. Before accessing your tax account online, you must authenticate your identity through the Secure Access process. Several other electronic payment options are available on www.IRS.gov/payments. They are secure and easy and taxpayers receive immediate confirmation when they submit their payment.

Need to Fix an Error on a Return?

Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, must be filed by paper and is available on www.IRS.gov/forms at any time. Do not file an amended return before the original return has been processed. Taxpayers should file an amended tax return to change the filing status, or correct income, deductions or credits. The IRS generally corrects math errors and mails a request for any missing documents. Use the “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool to track the status of your amended return. It will take up to three weeks after mailing the return to show up in the IRS system. Processing can take up to 16 weeks.

Need Help Responding to an IRS Notice or Letter?

An IRS notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give instructions on how to handle the issue. Most questions can be answered by visiting the “Understanding Your Notice or IRS Letter,” on www.IRS.gov. Taxpayers can call the phone number included in the notice if they still have questions. Taxpayers have fundamental rights under the law. The “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” presents these rights in 10 categories. This helps taxpayers when they interact with the IRS. Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, highlights a list of taxpayer rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them. If normal IRS channels don’t solve the problem, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is available at 877-777-4778.

Watch Out for Scams

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer via e-mail, text or social media. Any e-mail that appears to be from the IRS about a refund or tax problem is probably an attempt by scammers to steal information. Forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue will be by mail.


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Pioneer History Day Returns, Our Heritage Matters

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-05-10

Free wagon rides will be available at California Pioneer History Day at Marshall Gold Discovery State Park in Coloma, on May 20. 
-- Photo by Patrick Twomey, 2mefotos Photography

On May 20, 2017, California Pioneer History Day is coming back to Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma. Admission is free, State parking fee is $8 per car. The event opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m., with parade at 10 a.m. It is sponsored by the California Pioneer Heritage Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors are encouraged to get into the spirit with period costume, if they wish.

Last year more than 5,000 people enjoyed the Day and new features have been added, to include a larger area of activities and events in the park. A log cabin will actually be erected during the day in real time, and will be donated to the Park.

Historic displays and exhibits will demonstrate how the pioneers met their needs, how they traveled and cooked and laundered their clothes. There will be periodic black powder musket firings, and the firing of a replica of the cannon purchased from Captain John Sutter in 1848. Special occasional firings of the “Candy Cannon” will shoot candy to gathered kids, who can also join in with pioneer games. There will be free wagon rides.

Visitors can try their skills making bricks, candles, dolls and other crafts, try quilting and roast a biscuit on a stick. Families can bring food to eat at the picnic area or purchase food at several food stands.

After the parade at 10 a.m., certificates of special recognition will be presented at the stage area, and VIPs introduced.

Then will come the entertainment, which will be continuous from around 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Jeri Clinger, co-founder with her husband Richard of the Galena Street East singing and dancing troop, is one of the organizers of the entertainment for California Pioneer History Day. “Singers will sing songs of that period, ones they might have been singing at some of the mining camps,” Clinger said. There will be dancing, musical numbers, and other types of entertainment in two locations on the grounds

The setting at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma is the historic spot of John Sutter’s sawmill, where gold was discovered in 1848. “It’s a very family oriented day,” Clinger said. “It’s ideal to help people in California feel the pioneer heritage here.”

Come early to beat the crowds. For more information, please see californiapioneer.org/cphd.


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Mail Carrier Canned Food Drive is May 13th

Source: Willie Henderson, Food Drive Coordinator  |  2017-05-10

Each year on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from our customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people who need our help.

Last year we collected over 80 million pounds of food nationally, feeding an estimated 64 million people. Over the course of its 24 year history the drive has collected 1.5 billion pounds of food thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire Nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The need for food donations is great. Currently, 49 million Americans are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Thirteen million are children who feel hunger's impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. More than 5 million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes often too embarrassed to ask for help.

Our food drive timing is crucial. Food Banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime many pantries are depleted entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.

Participating in this year's Letter carriers stamp out hunger Food Drive is easy. Just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by your mail box on Saturday, May 13th and your letter carrier will do the rest. With your help, letter carriers and the US postal service have collected over 1.5 billion pounds of food in the United States over our first 24 years as a national food drive. Please help us in our flight to end hunger as we celebrate our 25th anniversary year in America's great day of giving.


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Grand Opening of State‐of‐the‐Art, Water‐Wise Gardens at Howe Park

By Sacramento Suburban Water District  |  2017-05-10

The public is invited to the Grand Opening Ceremony and Celebration of the Gardens at Howe Park, the Sacramento region’s newest water‐wise demonstration garden, on Saturday, May 13 at 10:00 a.m. at Howe Park in Sacramento.

The celebration will include a ribbon‐cutting ceremony, guided tours, workshop demonstration on highefficiency sprinklers and free gift bags filled with gardening tools for the first 100 attendees.

“We’re excited to open our newest demonstrations gardens and highlight the variety of ways people can have beautiful landscapes that are river‐friendly and low‐water,” said Greg Bundesen, Sacramento Suburban Water District’s (SSWD) Water Conservation Supervisor.

The Gardens at Howe Park are truly unique in that they showcase four, state‐of‐the‐art, low‐water use demonstration landscapes, including:

  • Sensible Switchover: This garden is designed to represent the layout of most Sacramento-area residential front yards, but features low-water plants and low maintenance solutions perfect for our region’s climate.
  • Wilder Wonders: A wilder, less structured garden filled with color and texture. It’s designed to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and bees.
  • Water Works: A working rain garden that shows how plants can take in, filter and hold water in the soil. It’s designed to capture the rain and let it percolate into our groundwater instead of flowing unchecked and unfiltered into our rivers, the Delta and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.
  • Effortless Edibles: This attractive garden features low-water edibles and aromatics, and can provide lots of goodies for your table, and color for your house.

Each of the gardens will feature informational signage that identifies all of the landscape’s waterefficient features and plants used.

SSWD customers helped transform the site during hands‐on workshops on sustainable landscaping techniques taught by EcoLandscape California instructors.

The project is presented in partnership by SSWD, Fulton‐El Camino Recreation and Park District and EcoLandscape California, which served as project manager and provided instruction for hands‐on workshops, and is part of the District’s ongoing commitment to promoting wise water use and investing in the community.

For more information about the Grand Opening celebration for the new Gardens at Howe Park, visit www.sswd.org.


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Bipartisan Group of Senators Seek $100 Million for Levee Repairs Following the Failure of Oroville Dam Spillway

Source: Office of Senator Nielsen  |  2017-05-10

On behalf of their constituents whose lives and properties are continuously impacted by potential flooding, Senators Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) requested $100 million for critical and serious levee repairs in the state budget.

Following is an excerpt from their letter to Senator Bob Wieckowski, Chairman of the Senate Budget SubCommittee No.2:

“The significant amount of rainfall received this year and the severe damage to the Oroville Dam spillways have caused substantial damage to flood control structures that need to be addressed as soon as possible. Furthermore, the need for a consistent and reliable source of funding to reduce flood-risk in our state is vital to the protection of human life and property.

“Our levees have suffered significant damage that could prevent them from functioning properly in the next high-water event unless emergency repairs are completed this year.

“This requested funding investment in our water infrastructure will save lives, protect property, and save the state billions in avoided emergency repairs.”


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