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Initiative to close tax exemption for out-of-state businesses to join November ballot

Tom Steyer, founder and Co-Senior Managing Partner of Farallon Capital Management. He is one of the incentive's top supporters. Kevin Meynell/clcv/Flickr

California voters may see not one, not two, but three different tax measures on the November ballot.

Backers of an initiative that would close a tax exemption for out-of-state businesses turned in their signatures Friday.

Bay Area venture capitalist Tom Steyer has poured millions of dollars into this measure. Steyer says that the measure would raise a billion dollars a year for green building projects and the state budget — all by closing one tax loophole.

"There is an error in state tax law that allows out-of-state corporations to pay less tax than California corporations on the same sales," he explains.

But Peter DeMarco, representing a business coalition, says that the tax law should remain as it is. He claims the measure is "going to drive workers and jobs out of California.”

Two other tax measures could also be on the November ballot, one from education advocate Molly Munger and one from Governor Jerry Brown.

There’s also a proposal that would end the same tax exemption in the California legislature.