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California Legislature Proposes First-In-The-Nation Wealth Tax

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- A bill proposed in the California State Assembly would, if passed, implement a wealth tax on California residents -- the first of its kind in the nation.

The bill, AB 2088, will tax .4% of a resident's net worth if it exceeds $30 million for single and joint tax form filers, and $15 million for married couples filing separately. Real estate is exempt, as it's already taxed at a higher rate than the wealth tax.

If passed, the state predicts the bill would raise about $7.5 billion for the general fund from over 30,000 residents. 

Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) authored the bill as a way to counter the big budget deficit the state faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We can't simply rely on austerity measures," Bonta told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We must consider revenue generation."

The bill won't come up for a vote before the end of the legislature session on Aug. 31, but Bonta told the Chronicle that he planned to introduce the bill next session.

The California Teachers Association sent out a statement Thursday calling on the California legislature to vote on Bonta's bill as well as AB 1253, a tax on households making more than $1 million annually. The CTA said both bills were "were introduced in the context of growing inequality."

"With the state's finances in deficit, cuts to schools, healthcare, and essential community services will be inevitable without new taxes, which will set back California's recovery and widen racial inequity as they did in the Great Recession," the statement read.

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