On Eve of Trump's Visit, California Lawmaker Proposes Denying Tax Breaks to Border Wall Builders
By Jazmine Ulloa
On the eve of President Trump's first visit to California since he took office, a state lawmaker says he wants to deny state tax breaks to companies that contract or subcontract to build the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who wields substantial influence in the creation of state tax policy as Assembly budget committee chairman, has been among the vocal opponents to the border wall, calling it counterproductive to the state's economic growth and "a symbol of weakness and hate to the world."
He plans to present his proposal to an Assembly committee on Monday, and the bill is expected in print next week. It would prevent companies that profit from the wall's construction from receiving some tax credits, such as those given for hiring new employees, buying or using certain manufacturing and research equipment or for promoting alternative energy and advanced transportation.
Trump is expected in San Diego on Tuesday to inspect prototypes for the wall. Ting's proposal has been one of several attempts to slow or stop its construction in a state that has billed itself as home to a resistance movement against Trump's hard-line immigration policies.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra in September filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump's proposal to expedite construction of the wall violates laws protecting the environment, though legal experts have said such challenges face a slim chance of success. Another pending bill by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) would ban state government contracts for any company that helps build the wall.
Ting, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) introduced separate legislation last year that would require California's pension funds to divest from any company involved in the creation of the barrier. It died in committee.
Ting said lawmakers need to address the concerns of Californians: A September 2017 poll from the Public Policy Institute of California found 73% of all adults in the state oppose a wall along the border with Mexico.
"California builds bridges not walls," Ting said. "At a time when we need critical infrastructure, spending $20 billion on a wall that won't work is a waste of taxpayer money."
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