SACRAMENTO- Today Governor Newsom signed Assemblyman James Gallagher’s (R-Yuba City) Assembly Bill 1249 to make PG&E wildfire victims’ settlement payments tax-free. AB 1249 will provide financial relief to wildfire victims by exempting them from paying state taxes on settlement payments made out of PG&E’s “Fire Victims Trust”.
Gallagher said, “Today is a big victory for fire victims, and one I hope provides a precedent for future disaster settlements. Victims deserve to receive the maximum amount of compensation possible from PG&E, especially since the trust is underfunded and not able to pay victims their full claims. I will continue to push for solutions to ensure victims are made whole.”
“AB1249 is a huge boost for all the fire victims that are still struggling to get their life back together. As they wait with uncertainty if they will have enough money to rebuild this will give them some hope and help to rebuild their lives” stated Steve Crowder, Mayor of Paradise.
Doug Teeter, Butte County Supervisor representing Paradise said, “Payments from the Fire Victims Trust are already going to be less than what many people are expecting due to PG&E’s stock price and the structure of the settlement. Providing income tax relief will help provide more financial resources to Camp Fire victims to help them rebuild and recover. It’s the right thing to do.”
PG&E’s “Fire Victims Trust” was created to compensate victims of the 2015 (Butte), 2017 (North Bay) and 2018 (Camp) wildfires. AB 1249 will clarify California’s tax code to allow all types of filers to be excluded from paying state taxes on advance settlements paid out of the trust.
AB 1249 is joint authored by Senator Nielsen (R-Tehama) and has a large coalition of bi-partisan co-authors. The bill enjoyed unanimous bipartisan support in the legislature before being signed by the Governor.