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  • Archive for January, 2011

    Jan 28

    REGULATORY OVERSIGHT ANALYSIS AND REFORM

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    As charter members of the regulatory reform coalition, known as ROAR (Regulatory Oversight, Analysis and Reform Coalition), we will be spending a significant amount of time in Sacramento this year pushing for Legislative and Executive Brach action on peeling back some of the state’s many complicated, redundant, and ultimately job-killing regulations.  Jack Stewart , President of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, has penned a piece for Capitol Weekly calling on state policymakers to follow the lead of President Obama and calls for a full review of California’s regulatory process, as a key step in putting the state on track for recovery.  Click here for the full article. Click here to read the President’s Executive Order.

    Jan 28

    CAL/OSHA INJURY/ILLNESS PREVENTION PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

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    Our friends at the California Chamber have put out an employer alert to make sure companies, large and small, know how to comply with the Cal/OSHA Injury/Illness Prevention Program.  ALL employers, even those with just one employee, are required to have such a plan.  Click here for more information on how to comply.

    Jan 28

    GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES ENERGY/UTILITY APPOINTMENTS

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    Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of four individuals to the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.  Appointed to the California Energy Commission are Robert Weisenmiller, who was also appointed as chair, and Carla Peterman, a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and board member of the Utility Reform Network.  Mike Florio and Catherin Sandoval were both named to the California Public Utilities Commission.  We congratulate all four appointees and look forward to working with them.  Click here for more information on each individual.

    Jan 21

    2011 RETAIL LEASING SYMPOSIUM

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    Join ICSC in San Francisco and receive 5.0 CLE credits at a special symposium for lawyers and real estate professionals in the industry focusing on issues related to retail leasing agreement.  This program will cover everything from compensation and commission to a report on new laws impacting the California commercial real estate industry. Click here for more information and to register.

    Jan 21

    FEDERAL REVIEW OF REGULATIONS ORDERED BY PRESIDENT

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    Last week, President Barack Obama issued an executive order aimed at improving the federal regulations and directing agencies to conduct regulatory review.  We applaud the President for moving forward with this review and hope that it will help improve the nation’s business climate.  BOMA California has been advocating similar actions at the state level and believes that this action may provide a pathway for our state to conduct a similar review and implement improvements that will cut unnecessary bureaucracy. 

    Click here to read the President’s Executive Order.

    Jan 21

    BILLS TO IMPROVE CURRENT SALES TAX COLLECTION WILL HELP BUDGET

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    Rex Hime, President and CEO of California Business Properties Association, has written an op/ed to discuss several bills that have been introduced in the Legislature that have the potential to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in uncollected sales taxes. 

    “California has an opportunity this year to make a real positive impact on small businesses by fixing an outdated e-commerce law that unfairly puts them at a disadvantage. This loophole was created almost two decades ago and has now produced a seriously uneven playing field for small businesses.  

    “The basic issue is out-of-state, online-only retailers that have a presence in this state do not collect state sales taxes like California businesses are required to do. This creates a huge burden for stores and their online websites in California that sell the same product.”

    Click here to read the full story.

    Jan 14

    CALGREEN NOW MANDATORY – TRAINING AVAILABLE

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    CALGreen, the nation’s first statewide green building code, is now mandatory for all new construction.  Training on this new code is now more important than ever.  Green Technology’s CALGreen training, developed in partnership with the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development, has proven the most popular and effective introduction to this new code.  Here are dates for upcoming Seminars:

    Ventura, 26 January

    San Jose, 2 February

    Irvine, 9 February

    Sacramento, 23 February

    San Francisco, 9 March

    For more information and a full list of our upcoming seminars, click here.

    Jan 14

    LAO SAYS BUDGET A “GOOD STARTING POINT” BUT RISKY

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    The State Legislative Analyst Office has released an overview of the Governor’s Budget and generally had praise for the plan.  Mac Taylor stated that “We think the Governor’s package is a good starting point for legislative deliberations,” but noted that the budget does rely on some risky assumptions, such as the legislature approving such a large amount of cuts and voters approving to tax themselves $12 billion.  Click here to see the LAO’s review.

    Jan 14

    LEGISLATIVE HEARING ON RDA ELIMINATION

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    The California State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on State Administration will hold a hearing at 2:00 p.m. on February 7, for an overview and discussion of the Administration proposal to eliminate Enterprise Zones and Redevelopment Agencies.  You can watch the hearing on the Assembly’s website.

    Jan 14

    GOVERNOR PROPOSES ELIMINATION OF REDEVELOPMENT

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    Governor Brown’s budget also proposes to fundamentally change the role that state and local governments play in local development activities. State tax benefits for enterprise zones are eliminated and the current funding mechanism for redevelopment agencies (RDAs) is phased-out. Eliminating RDAs, to save $1.7 billion, is particularly troubling to local officials and developers alike.

    Although the plan is anticipated by the Governor to return “billions in property tax revenues to schools, cities and counties and help pay for public safety, education and other services,” those familiar with RDAs believe this action may actually have an negative impact on local revenues by decreasing economic activity and eliminating jobs.

    John Shirey, Executive Director for the California Redevelopment Association, reacted to the proposal with concern that the proposal was penny wise, but pound foolish. “The state and local governments have very few tools to stimulate the economy, but redevelopment is the exception,” stated Shirey in a press release. “Redevelopment is already a locally-governed service, which generated hundreds of thousands of jobs and puts people to work at a time when unemployment is soaring over 12 percent. Redevelopment contributes tens of billions of dollars to our economy and is responsible for more than $2 billion in state and local taxes each year.”

    In addition to the fiscal impact of reduced economic activity, some are concerned that the elimination of RDAs will also make it more difficult for the State of California to reach goals set forth by the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and the nation’s first law linking greenhouse gas emissions to land use (SB 375), by making urban growth more difficult. Communities use redevelopment for cleaning-up brownfield sites, building infill projects, and producing affordable housing.

    Although many Capitol Insiders do not think this proposal has a real chance of actually being included in the final budget, we are taking the proposal very seriously and working with a coalition of groups to make sure we educate the Governor’s office and Legislators about the absolute importance of Redevelopment.

    The Governor’s proposal now goes to the Legislature where these issues will be “debated” at length. We will be educating lawmakers about the important role that RDAs play in revitalizing downtowns, creating jobs, and facilitating sustainable growth.

    Click here to read the full press release from the California Redevelopment Association.

    Jan 14

    GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSES BIG CUTS AND TAXES

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    Calling it a “Tough budget for tough times,” Governor Jerry Brown released the first spending plan of his third term less than one week after being sworn into office.  The Governor’s Budget proposes total spending of $127.4 billion for the 2011-12 fiscal year, $84.6 billion of which is from the State’s General Fund.

    The spending plan seeks to eliminate an 18-month budget gap, estimated at $25.4 billion, with $12.5 billion in spending reductions, $12 billion in taxes, and $1.9 billion in other solutions.

    The major program cuts proposed include $1.7 billion to Medi-Cal, $1.5 billion to California’s welfare-to-work program (CalWORKs), $750 million to the Department of Developmental Services, $500 million to the University of California, $500 million to California State University, and $308 million for a 10 percent reduction in take-home pay for some state employees. Brown also plans to trim state government operations by $200 million through a variety of actions, including reorganizations, consolidations and other efficiencies.

    The Governor is starting with cuts in his own office.  He has ordered an immediate cutback of 25% ($4.6 million) in his own staff operations, eliminated the Office of Secretary of Education ($7 million), and used only 16% of the funds budgeted for the Gubernatorial Transition.

    The taxation proposal in the budget calls for an election in June 2011 where voters will be asked to continue personal income and sales taxes as well as the Vehicle License Fee rate, both of which are set to expire this year, for an additional five years. Finally, the budget also requires all corporations to use a single sales factor when measuring income attributable to California.

    Click here for full information on Governor Brown’s budget proposal.

    Jan 7

    BROWN’S FIRST APPOINTMENTS

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    The Governor has started filling out top positions in his administration.  Here are some of the top level appointees that have been named so far:

    Anne Gust Brown, 52, of Oakland, has been appointed Special Counsel in the Office of the Governor.  This position does not require Senate confirmation and Gust Brown will serve with no compensation.  Gust Brown is a Democrat.

    Nancy McFadden, 51, of Sacramento, has been appointed Executive Secretary for Legislation, Appointments, and Policy in the Office of the Governor. She was senior vice president at PG&E from 2005 to 2010.  Previously, McFadden served as senior advisor to Governor Gray Davis from 2001 to 2003, deputy chief of staff for the Office of the Vice President from 2000 to 2001, and general counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation from 1996 to 2000. This position does not require Senate confirmation, and the compensation is $175,000.  McFadden is a Democrat.

    John Laird, of Santa Cruz, has been appointed Secretary of the California Resources Agency.  Most recently, Laird taught in the Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz.  He served six years in the State Assembly, from 2002 to 2008, and was the Assembly Budget Committee Chair from 2004 to 2008. Previously, Laird was a member of the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2002. He was the Executive Director for the Santa Cruz AIDS Project from 1991 to 1993. Laird was Mayor and a City Councilmember for the city of Santa Cruz from 1981 to 1990.  This position requires Senate confirmation, and the compensation is $175,000. Laird is a Democrat.

    Marty Morgenstern, of Oakland, has been appointed Secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Since 2003, Morgenstern has consulted for the University of California on labor relations matters. He was director of the Department of Personnel Administration from 1999 to 2003. From 1994 to 1999, he worked as a private consultant to various labor organizations. Morgenstern was the Chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley from 1987 to 1994. From 1982 to 1987, he served as a member of the Public Employment Relations Board. Morgenstern served as the Director of the Department of Personnel Administration from 1981 to 1982.  In 1975, he was appointed Director of the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations by Governor Jerry Brown. This position requires Senate confirmation, and the compensation is $175,000. Morgenstern is a Democrat.

    Mary Nichols, of Los Angeles, has been reappointed Chair of the California Air Resources Board, where she has served since 2007. From 2004 to 2007, Nichols served as director of the Institute of the Environment (IoE) at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also held faculty appointments as a professor in residence at the School of Law and the School of Public Affairs. Before joining UCLA, she served as secretary for California’s Resources Agency from 1999 to 2003. Nichols served as chair of the California Air Resources Board from 1979 to 1983 under Governor Brown and was a member of the CARB beginning in 1975. She served as assistant administrator for Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton Administration.  Compensation for this position is $142,965. Nichols is a Democrat.

    Louis “Bill” Honig, of Marin, has been appointed to the California State Board of Education. He has been President of the Consortium on Reading Excellence since 2005. Previously, Honig served as a Visiting Distinguished Professor at San Francisco State University’s School of Education from 1993 to 1998. He was the Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1983 to 1993. Honig previously served on the California State Board of Education under Governor Brown from 1975 to 1983. Honig is a Democrat.