10.26.2006

Annals of capitalism, campaign division

LA Times, on the race for California controller. Strickland's the R, BTW:

In recent days, Intuit has placed $1 million into a committee called the Alliance for California's Tomorrow. That group has spent $66,000 on Strickland's behalf so far...Neither Intuit nor the tribes siding with Strickland would discuss their motives. Instead, they issued statements.

Intuit supports "candidates of both parties who are champions of good public policy." The tribes' statement said they are "just helping to move California forward by supporting strong leaders — Democrats and Republicans — who will move the state in the right direction."

The tribes and Intuit each have one reason to support the GOP nominee: taxes.

The state controller sits on the Franchise Tax Board, a three-member panel that oversees state income tax policy...The controller also serves on the five-member Board of Equalization, which oversees sales and property tax issues. Additionally, the controller votes for that board's chairman, who also sits on the Franchise Tax Board. Whoever wins the controller's race Nov. 7 will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the boards.

Intuit has inserted itself into the controller's campaign as part of its fight to block the Franchise Tax Board from simplifying the state income tax filing process. From his post on the Board of Equalization, Chiang embraced "ReadyReturn," a program designed to remove some of the agony of tax season by having the government complete low-income Californians' tax returns....If it were to be fully implemented, ReadyReturn could threaten sales of one of the company's most successful software programs: TurboTax. Facing a fierce lobbying effort by Intuit, the Legislature this year blocked the state from spending money on ReadyReturn.

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