Tax Season Tribune

up arrow

California has been sluggish to name a state mollusk

By Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

In late 2023, SB 732 (Ch. 23-502) named the pallid bat1 as the official state bat. Californians north to south breathed a sigh of relief that this state emblem slot had finally been filled, meaning we could turn our attention to the important matter of naming the state mollusk.

Assemblymember Gail Pellerin of District 28 rose to the task, introducing AB 1850 in January 2024, which would establish the banana slug as the state slug (slugs are part of the mollusk family). No longer confined to existence as a mere mascot, elevating the banana slug to state emblem will “promote appreciation, education, and research of banana slugs in this state.”

AB 1850 lists the following banana slug qualities:

  • They are detritivores that eat poison oak and death angel mushrooms;
  • Their mucus is a liquid crystal used to send chemical messages;
  • They have a symbiotic relationship with the California redwood tree, eating plants that compete with the seedlings for light; and
  • They have “oozed into popular culture,” most notably on a t-shirt worn by John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction.”

Hopefully, this run for emblemhood will be successful. In 1988, then-Governor Deukmejian vetoed a bill that would have made the banana slug California’s official state mollusk. He stated in his veto message that the bill was “not representative of the international reputation California enjoys.” Whether the banana slug has since increased in popularity or California’s international reputation is slipping remains to be seen.

TGIF Mozzarella sticks bag

1 The pallid bat can be found throughout the western United States, as well as parts of Canada and most of Mexico. Here’s a YouTube video of the bat in Big Bend National Park in Texas:

That California income is going ... going ... gone!

By Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Federal Tax Editor

The immensely talented Shohei Ohtani, who is simultaneously a great pitcher and hitter, has left the Angels and signed a 10-year contract with the Dodgers for $700 million!

There are 162 games in the regular MLB season, and $70 million per year equates to $432,099 per game. With each game lasting approximately three hours, that amounts to a measly $144,033 per hour. That’s almost as much as California’s projected 2035 minimum wage, but I digress.

Ohtani’s contract calls for $2 million to be paid to him per year over the 10-year contract with the remaining $680 million deferred until after Ohtani is finished with the Dodgers. The deferred payments will likely escape California tax, assuming Ohtani will become a nonresident when his contract is up. Many details of Ohtani’s contract are not public, but escaping California tax seems the obvious reason for the massive deferral.

Mets fans celebrate Bobby Bonilla Day every July 1 to mark the nearly $1.2 million paid to Bobby Bonilla every year from 2011 through 2035 thanks to a similar salary deferral strategy signed by the then-slugger and the New York Mets when they bought out his contract in 2000.

Granted, Bobby Bonilla’s buyout was $5.9 million, but with deferral and interest, it turned into $1.2 million per year for 24 years. Ohtani’s contract does not call for interest paid on the $680 million deferral when it is paid out over nine years from 2034 to 2043, but the question remains: Which day will the Dodgers pick for Shohei Ohtani Day when they are shelling out more than $75 million per year to a former player for nearly a decade after his contract ends?

Tax season treats

Now that tax season has kicked in, it's time to think about the important things, like what goodies are you going to provide to keep your staff and co-workers happy and “energized.”  Below are some tips:

  • Almond Joys– For being a joy to work with
  • Animal Crackers – Because tax season can be a circus
  • DOnuts – For their can-do spirit
  • Jolly Ranchers – For being great team players
  • Lifesavers – For always being willing to help out others
  • M&Ms – For being Magnificent and Marvelous
  • Mixed nuts – When culling client lists
  • Pay Day – Every other Friday, if they’re lucky

Fun Spidell fact: Christina Estrada, our fantastic salesperson at all of our Spidell seminars, has conducted an informal survey and found that the top two favorites of Spidell’s seminar attendees are Almond Joys and Pay Days. Reply to this e-mail and let us know what your office’s go-to treats are.

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Sandy Weiner, J.D.

Sandy Weiner, J.D., as California editor, loves all things California. Whether it's hiking at Big Sur or playing at the beach in San Diego where she lives, Sandy takes full advantage of all that California has to offer as a way to clear her head after trying to comprehend and explain California's Revenue & Taxation Code.

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M., is an Orange County native, and you can find him around his backyard smoker, working in his garage, or sipping lemonade at either a baseball or soccer game for this three children.

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Kathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and watching foreign films.

Never miss an issue

Did a friend forward this to you? To get on the Tax Season Tribune mailing list, visit and submit your e-mail address. Past issues of the Tax Season Tribune can be accessed through the Tribune Archives.