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California Legislation Introduced to Provide Tax Rebate for Low-Income Renters

At a press conference Monday morning, Assembly members Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Tom Daly, D-Anaheim, will announce their legislation to enact a Renters Tax Assistance Program.

AB 2175 would provide an annual tax rebate to low-income renters. The Assembly members will be joined by the bill’s co-sponsors, Tenants Together and the California Apartment Association.

The renters’ rebate was in effect for decades until 2008 when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto power to eliminate tax rebates to low-income elderly and disabled renters. It was the former governor's single biggest line-item veto in the budget, eliminating all funding for renters under the Senior Citizens Renters Tax Assistance program. The veto was widely condemned at the time.

Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights, led the opposition to the veto and vowed to bring back rebate funds for low-income renters.

AB 2175 would extend the program to all low-income renters, not just those who are senior or disabled.

“It’s a matter of fairness,” said Dean Preston, executive director of Tenants Together, “homeowners get a range of tax advantages and tenants get none. Renters are struggling across the state and need this assistance.”

“For many people like me, the renters’ rebate helps cover our basic needs,” said Mira Ingram, a disabled tenant in San Francisco who used to rely on the rebate to pay for wheelchair maintenance before the program was defunded in 2008.

The bill will be heard Monday afternoon in the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee.

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