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California Legislature

Legislation would allow Californians to donate money to the state in effort to blunt effects of GOP tax bill

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (David Butow / For the Times)
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (David Butow / For the Times)

Californians might soon be able to make donations to the state in an effort to blunt the effects of the federal tax overhaul recently signed by President Trump.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is planning to introduce legislation that would allow Californians to count a portion of their tax bill as a donation, which would circumvent the federal GOP’s tax plan’s cuts to state and local tax deductions. Charitable donations remain deductible on federal taxes.

“For every dollar that a Californian sends as a charitable contribution to California, you can write that off,” De León said in an interview with CNN Wednesday. “It’s legal. It’s legitimate.”

De León, who announced his intent to write a bill last month, argued that the GOP tax plan disproportionately hurts California. Under the federal measure, residents can deduct $10,000 paid in state and local taxes from their federal taxes. The effects of the new cap would be deeply felt in many suburban areas of California where people typically pay more than that to the state and local governments. Through De León’s plan, the first $10,000 would be paid via regular taxes and people would have the option of making a charitable contribution to the state for the remainder.

This process, De León said, is already used in other states such as Arizona and Florida, so the president may not want to challenge California’s maneuver in court.

“It will put him in a conundrum,” De León told CNN.

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