Google stock boom boosts California coffers

08 Jan 2007

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) After cashing in more than 9 million shares valued at $3.7 billion last year, 16 Google insiders will owe California as much as $380 million in taxes, enough to cover the salaries of more than 3,000 state workers.

Taxes paid by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page account for nearly half the amount. There is virtually no way for them or other California billionaires to escape a 9.3% state capital gains tax or a recent voter-approved 1% tax on the wealthy to underwrite the state's mental health programs.

'On behalf of a grateful state, I'll be happy to wash their windows or mow their lawn,' said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for California's Department of Finance.

In the often slippery world of state finance, the wildly successful Google has had an unusually tangible effect on California's budget. It has become the face of an extraordinary two-year resurgence in state capital gains and stock-options revenue, much of which can be traced back to the tech sector.

Mega-sized tax filings from Google executives began flowing into state coffers in earnest in 2006, two years after the company went public.

The receipts helped fuel a multibillion dollar tax windfall last spring that allowed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to pour money into roads, classrooms and other popular programs, pleasing political enemies and helping smooth his path to re-election.

Google insiders are on pace to pay a cumulative $1 billion by 2008 in state income tax since the company went public. Combined, that's about 1% of the state's annual general fund budget.

© 2007 The Associated Press

© 2007 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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