The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the $700 billion government fund to purchase assets and equity from large banks, officially ended at the beginning of October. In 2008, the Bush administration enacted the program following years of unregulated and reckless private banking actions that precipitated one of the most severe economic downturns in the nation's history. TARP has been an extremely contentious and politically toxic issue since its inception. However, recent reports have indicated that the cost of TARP will be much lower than originally anticipated.
Last month, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 2666, a strong bill sponsored by Asm. Nancy Skinner that would have required the state's Franchise Tax Board to compile information on corporate tax expenditures and publish the information on California's Reporting Transparency in Government website. The Governor had previously spearheaded accountability reforms and repeatedly emphasized the right of California taxpayers to know where the state directs public funds, especially during an economic downturn. However, his veto reflects right-wing policy priorities: siding with corporations at the expense of sound fiscal policy, middle class interests, and taxpayer protections.
In August, California lawmakers approved AB 2666, a bill sponsored by Asm. Nancy Skinner that requires the state's Franchise Tax Board to compile information on corporate tax expenditures and publish the information on California's Reporting Transparency in Government website. In 2009 alone, the state spent $14.5 billion on corporate tax expenditures with no oversight or accountability mechanisms.