SAN DIEGO — Millions of California renters could soon qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,000.
A new bill in the state legislature with strong bipartisan support would increase the current credit, now as low as $60, and which has remained the same for more than four decades.
"This is helping the poorest of poor in our state," said State Senator Steve Glazer (Senate District 7), who authored SB843. His legislation has more than 40 co-authors in the Senate and Assembly, by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
It would increase California's renter tax credit from $60 to $500 for eligible single filers, and $1,000 for couples, as well as single filers with dependent children.
To qualify, single renters must currently earn less than $43,533 for the $60 credit, and couples filing jointly must earn less than $87,066.
"Rents have quadrupled, and yet what you were being compensated for in 1979 is the same as what's happening in 2022," Glazer told CBS 8.
Back in 1979, Glazer was San Diego State University's student body president, demonstrating as a student activist for that original renter tax credit.
"So I have a long memory and I remember that fight and how important it was to students and to those in low income," he added.
Under the current law, this credit can only decrease a taxpayer's debt. This new legislation, however, would be a true credit, putting money into a renter's pocket even if they don't owe any taxes.
Glazer said that up to 2.4 million Californians could qualify.
"It would add 700,000 more renters to the eligibility pool for the renters tax credit at this higher level," he said.
"This is a window of opportunity to move on this," said Tom Scott, deputy director of policy at the California Community Action Partnership Association in Sacramento, a strong backer of the bill which represents 60 community action agencies throughout the state.
Scott said it is vital for voters to voice their support now, to push for this to be written into the state budget.
"If you rent, you need to get on the phone and call your legislator," Scott added.
"A thousand dollars could go a long way for families, " said Rafael Bautista, who heads the San Diego Tenants Union. He called this legislation a step in the right direction.
"We need to make sure that these families who are so vulnerable are protected, and this is one way to go about it," Bautista told CBS 8
As part of this new legislation, unlike the current credit, a single parent and their child or children would be treated as a couple, and would qualify for the higher $1,000 credit.
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