To the editor: I agree with letter writer Kip Dillinger that the plan being considered by the California Legislature to substitute a deductible tax credit for payment of state income taxes is laughable and will not work for the following additional reasons:
First, charitable contributions are deductible minus value received. That is, if you give $100 to a charity and they give you a $40 gift certificate for a meal, you can only deduct $60. The value received is itemized on the receipt from the charity.
If a taxpayer wanted to deduct his or her state tax payment as a charitable contribution, the state would be obligated to reduce the deduction by the value of services and goods received by the taxpayer. That list could be quite long and complicated.
Second, a contribution is not charity if it is not voluntary. Citizens must pay taxes or face fines and sometimes jail time. I can choose to give to charities or not without sanction.
Steve Murray, Huntington Beach
To the editor: If I see one more mainstream media article referring to the massive heist as a "tax overhaul," I think my head will explode. ("California bid to sidestep federal tax overhaul would create 'the most generous tax credits' in state history, analysis says," Jan. 9)
If thieves in the night jacked up your car and made off with the wheels, would you label that an "overhaul"?
Ernest A. Canning, Thousand Oaks
To the editor: The headlines for the Los Angeles Times article reporting state Democrats' efforts to shield Californians from some of the pain they will fear after the GOP tax overhaul could just as accurately read, "Democrats seek to cut taxes for the rich."
P.J. Gendell, Beverly Hills