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Sacramento, Calif. – Democrats in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee blocked commonsense legislation to protect taxpayers today. AB 867 (Wagner), sponsored by Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner, would have required the State of California to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared illegal or unconstitutional.

“If you pay an illegal tax, you deserve to get your money back,” said Runner. “There’s no good reason the state should keep money that rightfully belongs to taxpayers. It’s a shame the Democrats put partisan interests above the people of California.”

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all their administrative appeals remedies, even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal or unconstitutional.  AB 867 would have also required the state to automatically issue refunds to taxpayers whose information is up to date, and opened up an additional appeals period of one year after a state tax is declared illegal or unconstitutional, giving taxpayers a chance to apply for the refunds they deserve.

“I am deeply disappointed that several of my colleagues think it is more inconvenient for the State of California to give illegally collected money back to taxpayers, than it is for taxpayers to be out this money,” said Assemblyman Don Wagner. “Moves like these are why the public has little trust in state government.”

Similar legislation sponsored by Runner was introduced last year, but was killed by legislative Democrats. AB 867 earned the support and backing of taxpayer advocate groups.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as an elected member and Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization.