The Budget Untouchables

Call it the battle between the colleges and Hollywood.

Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature assure us this is a time of austerity. So they have cut higher education by more than $1 billion. Social services are on the chopping block.

But there is a category of budget untouchables: tax breaks for wealthy businesses.

This week, the legislature moved to protect a tax break for Hollywood film production.

Gov. Brown also dropped an earlier proposal to end enterprise zones -- even though there is scant evidence that such zones make a net positive impact on jobs.

A big corporate tax break that had been slated for rollback now appears likely to survive. And the legislature is considering a new tax credit for some manufacturers.

There's a case to be made for supporting California's most important industries, from movies to technology to tourism and aerospace.

But are such subsidies more important than the state's universities, given the close connection between college graduation rates and economic prosperity? 

Is it right to give a tax break to companies at the same time the governor and the majority party wants voters to pay higher taxes on their income and purchases?

"Bridesmaids" catches a tax break bouquet.

Contact Us