Newsom recalls candidate tax returns
Candidates for the California recall election are required to submit tax returns to get on the ballot. Here are some interesting takeaways.
CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES – This story was originally posted by CalMatters.
Gov. Gavin Newsom knew he was forcing his future opponents to make more information about themselves public when he signed a law in 2019 require candidates for governor to publish five years of tax returns. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that the competitors’ first round would surface during a recall the elections in 2021.
This month, for the first time in California history, the gubernatorial candidates were required to make their income tax returns available to the public. Forty-two candidates correctly submitted their tax returns at the Secretary of State and are qualified to appear on the September 14 ballot.
Eight other candidates did not qualify at least in part due to the tax filing requirement, according to rejection letters issued by the secretary of state.
They include conservative talk show host Larry Elder, who disputes the rejection. Secretary of State Shirley Weber said her documents had not been submitted correctly so she left it out. Elder announced on Monday that he takes legal action, arguing that he should not be disqualified for a drafting error, but also that the tax return requirement should not apply to the recall.
“I can’t stand this shenanigans, and I know neither will you,” he tweeted, asking for donations for the campaign.
The Newsom spokesman said the governor had submitted five years of tax returns, the same records he allowed journalists to review in the past. Weber’s office does not publish them, however, as Newsom is technically not a candidate on the recall ballot.
But she released the tax returns of candidates hoping to replace Newsom. Here’s what we learned from reviewing them:
Not much for Uncle Sam
GOP businessman John Cox has paid $ 5 million in his second run for governor, but he and his wife Sarah Hall Cox reported zero taxable income in 2019.
Even though Cox said he received over $ 1 million that year from apartments and other investments he owns, he reported losses of over $ 2 million. His charitable donations included actions at the Rescue California Education Fund – and the use of his jet.
The end result was $ 294,000 in deductions and $ 279,000 in adjusted gross income, so no federal tax liability.
In 2018, Cox reported adjusted gross income of $ 910,105 and paid $ 11,654 in taxes, an effective tax rate of approximately 1.3%.
In 2017 and 2016 – before the tax cuts imposed by President Trump and the Republican Congress – Cox had to pay alternative minimum tax, he was therefore unable to reduce his bill as much by various deductions.
Civil servants, annoying returns
Some current and former elected officials on the ballot submitted rather pedestrian tax returns.
Republican Kevin Kiley’s taxes were pretty straightforward. His salary since he began his term in the State Assembly in 2017 has remained stable around $ 100,000. Prior to that, he declared income as a contract lawyer. In 2020, Kiley reported a net profit from a cattle business of $ 1,436.
As mayor of San Diego, Republican Kevin Faulconer and his wife Katherine Stuart reported combined adjusted gross incomes ranging from $ 142,609 in 2016 to $ 358,119 in 2019. Stuart was the main breadwinner as chairman of Restaurant Events, Inc., a business that hosts block parties and other events. Faulconer brought in about $ 70,000 in salary from the city of San Diego.
GOP Equalization Board member Ted Gaines had the most complex files among elected officials. He and his wife Beth Gaines run an insurance business and own a number of rental properties. In 2020, they reported California state salaries of nearly $ 106,000, Gaines Insurance Agency income of $ 172,000, and their rental property income of nearly $ 136,000. However, after expenses and deductions, their adjusted gross income was approximately $ 241,000. They paid just over $ 31,000 in federal taxes last year. The couple’s adjusted gross income in 2019 was $ 405,000, up from $ 311,000 in 2018.
Caitlyn Jenner, international brand
While Caitlyn Jenner is would be in Australia to compete in “Celebrity Big Brother,” she reassured audiences on Twitter that there would be “no pause at all in this race to save CA”.
Her multinational presence during her campaign is a reflection of her taxes: In recent years, Jenner has paid taxes not only in the United States, but also in Australia, Greece and Indonesia in 2019, as well as in the United Kingdom. United and Ireland in 2018..
She has yet to file her taxes for 2020, but her returns since 2016 show a mix of business income and income from rental real estate, partnerships and royalties. In 2019 and 2018, Jenner’s total income was over $ 500,000, down from the $ 1.94 million she reported in 2017 and $ 2.52 million in 2016, which was probably fueled by the publication of his memoirs in 2017.
She also claimed tax deductions for gifts and charity, including the donation of a 2011 Porsche to her foundation.
California, the land of opportunity. Want to make billboards of yourself driving your Corvette? Want to run a sanctuary for spiritual enlightenment and holistic healing? Everything is possible here – with the right tax accountant.
Angelyne, a SoCal billboard icon, and Holly Baade, a shaman and yoga teacher from Marin County, are two of the more eccentric gubernatorial contenders. Both reported negative adjusted gross incomes last year (due to business losses), received unemployment benefits, and owed no federal taxes.
Baade, a Democrat, said $ 51,000 in sales and $ 150,000 in expenses related to her center which offers tai chi, meditation, shamanic healing and Ayurvedic therapy. She also declared nearly $ 21,000 in unemployment benefits.
Angelyne, who has no party preferences, claimed $ 28,200 in unemployment benefits. Known for pasting her image on Los Angeles billboards, the one-name personality reported nearly $ 360,000 in business expenses, including $ 7,800 for costume supplies and more than $ 58,000 for 102,000 miles on his three Corvettes.
Hit by the COVID recession
Like many Californians, some average people on the ballot were financially hammered by the economic crisis associated with the pandemic.
Heather Collins, a hairdresser from Playa del Rey, reported $ 93,294 in income from her business in 2019. But last year that income dropped to $ 16,504 and she received $ 15,450 in unemployment benefits.
David Bramante, a real estate agent and developer from Calabasas, reported that his business income increased from $ 127,485 in 2019 to $ 74,983 in the coronavirus year of 2020. And David Lozano from San Marino, a former deputy sheriff, and his wife said they earned $ 68,330 from real estate in 2019, but lost $ 67,289 in 2020 and collected over $ 23,000 from unemployment.
But others took advantage of the stock market boom. Major Singh, a software engineer, reported $ 540,000 in capital gains for 2020, up from $ 132,300 in 2019.
Taxes go beyond politics
Liberal and conservative activists among the candidates may have different political views. But some of their tax returns show they are more similar financially.
Michael Loebs of San Francisco is an organizer of the California National Party, which advocates for a universal basic income and single-payer health care. Sarah Stephens is a Riverside County pastor who has organized events calling for the state to reopen during the pandemic. They both earn much less than the median household income of $ 80,440 per year.
In 2020, Loebs reported a salary of $ 32,510 and federal taxes paid of $ 2,230. In 2020, Stephens and her husband earned $ 49,452 and paid taxes of $ 2,530, but claimed an earned income credit of $ 1,552 and child tax credits of $ 7,000.
Meanwhile, former union leader Joel Ventresca, a Democrat from San Francisco, and Chauncey “Slim” Killens, a Republican Pastor of Hemet and supporter of former President Trump, mostly manage on pensions and other retirement income.
In 2020, Ventresca reported $ 76,495 in pensions and $ 25,015 in Social Security. Killens and his wife said they received $ 64,974 in pensions and $ 11,444 from Social Security last year.
Of the 41 candidates on the ballot, two – Democrat John Drake and Republican Nickolas Wildstar – failed to file federal tax returns.
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