California: Same-Sex Couples Filing Jointly Would Not Hurt State Revenue
June 19, 2006, 8:47 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics

Professor Brad Sears, Executive Director of UCLA Law’s Williams Institute, testified before a California Assembly Committee today that allowing registered domestic partners to file state income taxes jointly would result in only a small reduction in tax revenues.

According to Sears, who testified before the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation on SB 1827, allowing registered same-sex partners the same option to file jointly as married couples would “decrease income tax revenues by approximately $8 million per year, or less than .01% of the State’s $90 billion budget.”

In 2004, when the California legislature passed AB 205, California’s comprehensive domestic partnership legislation, it provided registered domestic partners with almost all of the rights of married couples under state law. One of the most significant exceptions was the exclusion of the right to file income taxes jointly.

Although the Williams Institute provided the legislature with an economic analysis that projected net savings for the State of tens of millions of dollars each year, then-Governor Gray Davis refused to sign AB 205 if any one item of the State’s budget would be negatively affected. Thus, the right to file jointly was specifically taken out of AB 205 during the final days of its consideration.

Today, that last-minute political compromise has become an issue in the California court case seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples. As a result of the exclusion, lawyers are arguing that providing domestic partnerships for same-sex couples is not only stigmatizing as a “separate but equal” institution, but is, in fact, separate and unequal, violating core principles of the State’s equal protection clause.

–from The Williams Institute, a national think tank dedicated to sexual orientation law and public policy.


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