The State Worker

Lawmakers kill a proposed tax deduction for California union members

A bill that would have given California union members a break on their state income taxes isn’t going to make it this year.

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, wrote Assembly Bill 2577 to let union members deduct their union dues on state income tax returns. It had backing from law enforcement unions and labor organizations that represent private-sector workers, such as the AFL-CIO.

His bill cleared the Assembly by a 64-11 vote and had favorable votes in Senate committees. The Senate Appropriations Committee chose to hold it last week. Gray’s spokesman on Wednesday conceded the bill would not advance to a final floor vote.

Gray and supporters cast the bill as effort to help unions after the Supreme Court in June handed down a decision in Janus vs. AFSCME that cuts their revenue by banning public sector unions from collecting so-called “fair share” fees from workers who don’t choose to belong to them.

Gray’s bill might have given union members an incentive to stick with their labor organizations, but it came with a hefty cost. The Franchise Tax Board estimated that it could have reduced state tax revenue by $250 million this budget year.

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