California’s massive social programs have put the state in severe debt and it’s economy is suffering for it. To try to increase revenues, California has been driving up taxes, business fees and even the aggressiveness of their tax collectors. California’s desperation is apparent as the Board of Equalization (BOE) is more abrasive than ever in they way they collect taxes and treat hard-working citizens. Reason reports on how even food trucks are the target of BOE harassment:
The BOE, truck owners say, used to tax them based on realistic sales estimates and used to account for the fact that many of the items they sell are not taxable items. They say the BOE also used to work with them to make their tax bills and treat them respectfully. No more. Desperate for cash, state officials now make unrealistic estimates of their sales and employ heavy-handed tactics, they explain.
“It reaches the point where you have to think about your health,” said Vernonica. “They filed lawsuits against me. They said they would charge me as a criminal in court. I’m out of business. I sold my truck. There are people out there who get government aid who are driving brand new cars. They come after a person like me who is not asking for anything. As long as I have two feet and two hands, I want to work.”
Officials suggested to one truck owner that he go down to the welfare office for benefits. That’s just like California these days—hard-working people are ill treated, but there are plenty of benefits available for those who prefer to live on the dole.
Many told stories of long waits, complicated audits, confusing instructions, unhelpful officials, of bureaucratic indifference. Then BOE reports them to the IRS, they say, which triggers a federal audit. Those who work other jobs have their wages garnished to pay the state.
“We were paying an acceptable amount, and then the state needed more money,” said Gilberto. He told me that this is a group of mom-and-pop business owners that cannot afford attorneys and accountants.