Senator Newman’s SB 503 Passes State Senate

Tuesday, May 30 2017

Sacramento, CA – Senate Bill (SB) 503, authored by Senator Josh Newman, passed the State Senate today with no opposition. The measure will allow taxpayers to continue to voluntarily contribute to a dozen tax check-off programs. The measure also extends the sunset date for the “Keep Arts in Schools” Fund to July 2022.

“I grew up in California and I went to public school here from second grade on. Arts education changed the trajectory of my life,” said Actor and CA Arts Council Supporter Annette Bening. “I support SB 503 because the ‘Keep Arts in Schools’ Fund provides critical funding that will help grow the next generation of creative, innovative young leaders.”

SB 503 would also set the minimum funding requirement for voluntary tax check off programs, like the “Keep Arts in Schools” Fund, to zero for one year. This would help ensure that vital programs appear on 2017 state returns and that taxpayers can continue to choose to support these programs. Programs such as the Emergency Food for Families Fund, the State Parks Protection Fund, the Alzheimer’s Disease Fund and the California Firefighter’s Memorial Fund.

“The California Firefighter’s Memorial fund depends largely on voluntary contributions from taxpayers,” said Lou Paulson, Chair of the California Fire Foundation. “We thank Senator Josh Newman for his leadership on SB 503. The amendment added to this measure will help vital programs throughout California to receive critical funding.”

This year, a popular tax preparation service made changes to its software program which changed the way voluntary contribution funds were presented to taxpayers. Some programs were not presented as a check-off option. As a result, many programs saw a sharp decrease in donations which put them below the threshold necessary to retain their tax check-off status. SB 503 aims to help correct this oversight. 

SB 503 now moves on to the State Assembly for consideration. See what supporters are saying: