GOP's Faulconer pitches tax cut plan for California

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Kevin Faulconer, a Republican candidate for California governor, speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Downey, Calif, where he announce his $15 billion tax-cut proposal. Faulconer wants to eliminate California's state income tax for individuals making up to $50,000 and households up to $100,000 as part of a proposal to make the state more affordable for families and the middle class. (AP Photo/Michael R. Blood)

DOWNEY, Calif. – Hoping to grab a share of the spotlight in California's expected recall election, Republican candidate for governor Kevin Faulconer on Wednesday proposed ending the state income tax for individuals making up to $50,000 and households up to $100,000 as part of a plan to make the notoriously costly state more affordable for families and the middle class.

“Too often when we hear about tax relief, they're cuts for investors, for the Wall Street crowd," Faulconer said Wednesday at a campaign event in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey. “This is for young people just starting out, this is for parents who are paying for diapers or college, this is for folks working long days to put food on the table."

Faulconer, the former San Diego mayor, is among a growing list of Republican candidates hoping to oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the all-but-certain election expected this fall.

His tax plan was unveiled at an increasingly challenging time for Republicans in their longshot bid to oust Newsom in the heavily Democratic state. The governor — blessed with an unprecedented $76 billion surplus not of his making, and billions more in federal coronavirus funding — has commanded headlines all week by rolling out a series of proposals with obvious political appeal, including checks up to $1,100 for many lower- and middle-income Californians.

Faulconer also is trying to keep pace with his two main Republican competitors, businessman John Cox and former Olympian and reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner, who have garnered more recent attention.

The low-key event around the corner from a popular bakery didn't draw a crowd, beyond a handful of TV cameras.

A governor has limited power to reduce taxes unilaterally, so Faulconer would need approval from the Legislature to enact his plan. If he wins the recall, he would take office with Democratic supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate, which gives the party a stranglehold on power in both chambers.

Faulconer, who worked with a Democrat-majority City Council in San Diego, said he' would seek to win legislative support by first getting public buy-in.