SACRAMENTO -- Californians will be able to check a box on their personal income tax filing and automatically donate to programs that protect the state’s coast under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, he announced Saturday.
The new law creates the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund and places a box on state income tax forms, when space is available, for those who want to contribute a portion of their refund to the account.
"The beauty and allure of California's coast is unrivaled and this bill gives taxpayers a simple way to help keep it that way," Brown said in a statement.
The governor's signing of the bill coincides with Coastal Cleanup Day, which was held Saturday and drew thousands of volunteers to beaches and rivers to pick up trash.
The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) and is modeled after other check-offs on state tax forms, including one for the California Seniors Special Fund, which received $272,000 in donations from taxpayers last year.
The coast fund must raise at least $250,000 the first year to stay on the tax forms, but will automatically be repealed after five years.
The state Department of Finance opposed AB 754, arguing in a report to lawmakers that “this bill is of limited value as there is nothing currently preventing California taxpayers from contributing directly to this cause if they so choose.”