BILL NUMBER: AB 971 INTRODUCED BILL TEXT INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Monning FEBRUARY 18, 2011 An act to amend and repeal Section 18753 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to taxation. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 971, as introduced, Monning. Personal income tax: voluntary contributions: California Sea Otter Fund. The Personal Income Tax Law allows individual taxpayers to contribute amounts in excess of their tax liability for the support of specified funds, including the California Sea Otter Fund. Existing law repeals the California Sea Otter Fund after January 1 of the 5th taxable year following the first appearance of the fund on the tax return, or on the taxable year beginning on or after January 1 of the calendar year in which the Franchise Tax Board estimates, by September 1, that the contributions made on the returns filed in that calendar year will be less than a minimum contribution amount, as specified, whichever occurs first. This bill extends the California Sea Otter Fund's repeal date until January 1 of the 10th taxable year following the first appearance of the fund on the tax return, or on the taxable year beginning on or after January 1 of the calendar year in which the Franchise Tax Board estimates, by September 1, that the contributions made on the returns filed in that calendar year will be less than a minimum contribution amount, as specified, whichever occurs first. This bill makes legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of the California Sea Otter Fund. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following: (a) Sea otters serve many important roles with the nearshore marine ecosystem, including as a sentinel of many forms of pollution and diseased organisms harmful to other animals and humans. Monitoring the health and population of sea otters is a useful tool for improving ocean health and for protecting domestic animal and human health and welfare. Continuance of these programs is highly encouraged. (b) The sea otter population is threatened by a variety of stressors, including declines in habitat quality and increased exposure to various forms of pollution. Because of these stressors, the total number of sea otters in California is less than 3,000, and the surviving population continues to experience high mortality and periodic population declines. (c) Efforts to benefit sea otters and their natural habitats in California should include: (1) Investigating ecological and environmental factors that contribute to poor southern sea otter survival. (2) Conducting in-depth studies of specific causes of sea otter mortality, the connections of those causes to environmental factors and anthropogenic activities, and the potential means for mitigating and preventing those causes. (3) Characterizing the full range of pathogens and pollutants that cause illness and death in southern sea otters. (4) Characterizing the source and population significance of harmful algal blooms and other water quality problems that can sicken or cause the death of sea otters, other marine wildlife, and humans. (d) The California Sea Otter Fund should remain on the Franchise Tax Board's list of voluntary contribution funds at least through 2016. The California Sea Otter Fund provides crucial funding to help scientists examine and understand causes of sea otter mortality, identify key factors limiting population growth and recovery, and work cooperatively and collaboratively with stakeholders to help mitigate and prevent environmental degradation and pollution of the nearshore marine ecosystem. This fund is made possible entirely through voluntary contributions by citizens of California. The past success of the California Sea Otter Fund, despite recent economic hardships experienced by California's citizens, reflects a strong collective interest in conserving this charismatic and important animal. There are no other dedicated state funding sources available to continue this important work. SEC. 2. Section 18753 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is amended to read: 18753. (a) This article shall remain in effect only until January 1 of the
fifth10th taxable year following the first appearance of the California Sea Otter Fund on the tax return, and as of that date is repealed , unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before the applicable date, deletes or extends that date. (b) (1) By September 1 of the second calendar year beginning after the first taxable year the California Sea Otter Fund appears on a tax return and by September 1 of each subsequent calendar year that the California Sea Otter Fund appears on a tax return, the Franchise Tax Board shall do both of the following: (A) Determine the minimum contribution amount required to be received during the next calendar year for the fund to appear on the tax return for the taxable year that includes that next calendar year. (B) Determine whether the amount of contributions estimated to be received during the calendar year will equal or exceed the minimum contribution amount determined by the Franchise Tax Board for the calendar year pursuant to subparagraph (A). The Franchise Tax Board shall estimate the amount of contributions to be received by using the actual amounts received and an estimate of the contributions that will be received by the end of that calendar year. (2) If the Franchise Tax Board determines the amount of contributions estimated to be received during a calendar year will not equal or exceed the minimum contribution amount for the calendar year, this article is repealed with respect to taxable years beginning on or after January 1 of that calendar year. (3) For purposes of this section, "minimum contribution amount" for a calendar year means two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) for the second calendar year after the first taxable year for which the California Sea Otter Fund appears on the tax return, or the minimum contribution amount adjusted pursuant to subdivision (c). (c) For each calendar year, beginning with the third calendar year that the California Sea Otter Fund appears on the tax return, the Franchise Tax Board shall adjust, on or before September 1 of that calendar year, the minimum contribution amount specified in subdivision (b) as follows: (1) The minimum contribution amount for the calendar year shall be an amount equal to the product of the minimum contribution amount for the prior calendar year multiplied by the inflation factor adjustment as specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) of Section 17041, rounded off to the nearest dollar. (2) The inflation factor adjustment used for the calendar year shall be based on the figures for the percentage change in the California Consumer Price Index received on or before August 1 of the calendar year pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (h) of Section 17041. (d) Notwithstanding the repeal of this article, any contribution amounts designated pursuant to this article prior to its repeal shall continue to be transferred and disbursed in accordance with this article as in effect immediately prior to that repeal.