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Local lawmaker to propose tax reduction plan

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A Riverside County lawmaker said today he's prepared a tax reform package that will slash "huge handouts'' to the state's super wealthy while providing relief to middle-class families.

Sen. Jeff Stone, R-La Quinta, is planning to introduce his "Saving the Middle Against Rising Taxes'' -- or SMART -- Act in January when the Senate and Assembly reconvene after winter break.

"Too many families have to choose between putting food on their tables and paying the higher taxes our Legislature has passed,'' Stone said. "We have higher gas taxes. We have higher car taxes. Our income taxes have been increased. And now legislators are talking about taxing us for every mile we drive."

"It's death by a thousand cuts, and our families can't afford to pay any more. By lowering tax rates at the state level, the SMART Act will ensure Californians don't see their taxes go up even more than they already have."

The act will seek to slash personal tax rates for individuals and families in the low- and middle-income tax brackets, though the senator didn't provide figures.

It will also endeavor to strengthen residency requirements to ensure that people who live in California for close to six months out of the year don't sidestep paying their share of taxes by claiming permanent residency in another state.

The act will further call for elimination of "loopholes'' and credits enjoyed by many in the film and television industry by virtue of their profession.

"It's just plain wrong to ask hard-working middle-class families to pay more while we continue to give huge handouts to the super-rich in Hollywood, like Harvey Weinstein,'' Stone said.

"In recent years, we've seen our taxes go up by billions of dollars, and the good thing about the federal tax debate (is it has) highlighted the absurdity of California's outrageously high state tax burden,'' he said. "The SMART Act is a way to finally help middle-class families get a little fairness 
out of Sacramento.''

According to the nonprofit Tax Foundation, California ranks in the top 10 nationally among states with the highest tax burdens.


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