Assemblymember Ting Applauds Los Angeles City Council Support for Same-Sex Tax Fairness

For immediate release:

City Adopts Resolution to Support AB 362

Sacramento – Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco) applauded action taken this week by the Los Angeles City Council, whose members voted unanimously to adopt Resolution (Rosendahl-Wesson-Zine) in support of AB 362, Ting’s legislation to exempt from state taxation compensation provided by California employers to employees in same-sex partnerships.

“Whenever California’s biggest city weighs in on a statewide issue, Sacramento listens,” said Ting. “So it is very important for the momentum of AB 362 that the City of Los Angeles understands our legislation is a matter of fairness, and stands in solidarity with the LGBT community.”

Under existing law, employer sponsored health insurance provided to the partners and children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees in same-sex partnerships does not qualify for federal tax exemptions. As a result, same-sex couples incur on average an extra $1,069 in taxes per year. In response to this excessive tax burden, California employers have started to adopt policies to compensate their LGBT employees for this federal tax expense. However, under existing law, these reimbursements are subject to state income taxes. AB 362 would exempt these compensations from state taxation.

“Assemblymember Ting’s legislation is a fair approach for one of the 1,100 federal benefits offered to opposite sex couples only. So, until DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) is deemed unconstitutional, we’ll just chip away at it,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, an author of the resolution. “A growing number of employers are recognizing the injustice of laws that deny federal marriage benefits to same sex partnerships. They should not be penalized for providing a benefit to all their employees.”

DOMA, enacted September 21, 1996, is a federal law that restricts federal marriage benefits and inter-state marriage recognition to opposite sex marriages. The U.S. Supreme Court heard an appeal to overturn DOMA with United States v. Windsor oral arguments on March 27, 2013. Their decision is expected in June.

“We know that discrimination can negatively impact the health of LGBT individuals and their families, so healthcare is paramount,” said Ting. “Treating healthcare coverage as some sort of luxury benefit is simply offensive. We’ll change that when AB 362 becomes law.”

AB 362 is sponsored by Equity California and supported by a number of organizations including, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Facebook, and several labor and health organizations.

Assemblymember Ting is the Chair of Assembly Democratic Caucus and the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, and he serves on the Budget, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Revenue and Taxation committees.