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  • Archive for March 15th, 2013

    Mar 15

    CEQA BATTLE LINES BECOMING CLEAR

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    A Sacramento Bee political columnist notes that Governor Jerry Brown has gotten behind CEQA reform but that two major Democratic allies “stand in the way.”  You get two guesses on what groups it might be…. Correct! And on the first guess. He says “Environmental groups and unions,” are not on board. Click here to read the article.

    Mar 15

    2013 BUILDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS – BACKGROUND

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    First adopted in 1977, the Standards have been periodically updated approximately on a three-year cycle. The most recent previous to this update, was the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which went into effect on January 1, 2010.

    The upgraded Standards are planned to go into effect in conjunction with the triennial upgrade of the other parts of the California Building Standards Code, and will be published as the 2013 California Energy Code. The updated Standards will improve upon the 2008 Standards and will implement a wide variety of state energy policy directives.

    Need more detailed information about the new Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24), including the how, why, and what?  Click here for all the policy matters relating to these regulations.

    Mar 15

    2013 BUILDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS – SUMMARY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Looking for a quick summary of the new Energy Efficiency Standards?  Look no more, and thank the Energy Commission for the new standards and this handy dandy summary.

    Mar 15

    AB 1103 BENCHMARKING RESOURCES/FAQ

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program kicks in this summer.  This is the mandatory Energy Star disclosure law we have been working on for over five years now. The present effective date of the regulations is July 1, 2013 for large buildings (more than 50,000 square feet); January 1, 2014 for medium buildings (more than 10,000, and up to 50,000 square feet); and July 1, 2014 for small buildings (5,000 up to 10,000 square feet).

    Basically, anytime you finance, sell, or lease a whole building, you are required to run the Energy Star numbers and provide that information to the other party in the transaction as well as the Energy Commission.

    The Energy Commission staff is working to provide online resources to help you comply with this new law.  Here are several items you can find already online:

    They are also working on a “Frequently Asked Questions” document and would like our input.  If, after reading through the materials, you are unclear on how to comply with the law, or if there are lingering questions, please let us know and we will pass along to the CEC.

    We want to thank staff at the Energy Commission for working with our industry to address issues and resolve concerns throughout this process.  We will continue to work with them as they move forward and are implemented.

    Mar 15

    RELEASE OF BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Yesterday the Department of Water resources and the federal government released a draft of the first four chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The Plan was begun under the Schwarzenegger administration and continues with the strong support of the Brown administration.

    The Plan proposes to build two 35-mile long tunnels under the Delta to move water supplies to the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California, and restore more than 100,000 acres of habitat.  The plan carries a price tag of $23 billion, with the tunnels funded by water users and the habitat funded by public sources.  If successful, the Plan would effectively secure much of the State’s water future for the next 50 years and significantly improve the Delta environment.  The announcement was made by representatives of the administration including Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross, Director of the Department of Water Resources Mark Cowin, and Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham.

    More information, including the summary documents released at yesterday’s press conference, are available by clicking here.

    Mar 15

    “ONCE AND FUTURE GOVERNOR”

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Love him or not, California Governor Jerry Brown is a fascinating person.  He is also the most powerful person in California and what he does, or chooses not to do, will impact you.  The following article is one of the most fascinating looks at the Governor – how he governs, his philosophy, and his thoughts on tax issues, including Prop. 13.  Some of this may surprise you…click here to read the article.

    Mar 15

    ***ACTION ALERT*** MARKETPLACE FAIRNESS ACT

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our friends at ICSC are asking their members and allied groups to weigh in on S. 336/H.R. 684, the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.  This bipartisan legislation provides the federal solution necessary to close the online sales tax loophole and level the playing field for all retailers. Please contact your Members of Congress and ask them to support this legislation today.

    These measures are complimentary and will actually enhance the success that California has had in this area over the last two years.  Millions of dollars in previously uncollected sales taxes have been collected, thereby relieving pressure on the General Fund for other “revenue raising” ideas.

    In response to the tremendous amount of momentum that we have gained on this issue during the last couple of years, the opposition is starting to organize a campaign of misinformation about the legislation.

    The current sales tax system favors online retailers over their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Local businesses deserve a fair chance to compete with online sellers, and only Congress has the ability to make that happen. The status quo results in the government picking winners and losers and doesn’t reflect 21st century retail – where retailers are selling through a variety of channels.

    Click here to find out more information and to help move these bills forward.

    Mar 15

    MAIN STREET MENACE – PARCEL TAX THREAT

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    There are currently eight constitutional amendments proposed by state legislators aimed at changing Proposition 13 by lowering the vote threshold needed to pass a parcel tax.  There are nine threats to parcel taxes if you count AB 54 (Bonta) which seeks to allow a split roll parcel tax.

    Our friend John Kabateck, California Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business, has a great article summing up how these measures – which will reduce your protections – are bad for the economy, especially small business.  Click here to read.

    Mar 15

    VICTORY IN L.A. ON STORM WATER PARCEL TAX!

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Congratulations to all of our members in Los Angeles County that have worked hard over the past few months combating a $290 million a year parcel tax aimed at raising more revenue for the county to deal with storm water runoff issues.  The issue was initially pushed by environmental groups and was supported by several unions.

    The business community has argued that the tax was unfair because we already address the issue of storm water runoff voluntary and it mandated on-site and off-site mitigations, and currently existing – and substantial – fees.  In many cases the fee would amount to double taxation on many properties that have already paid into the system in order to receive permits.

    Again, congratulations to everyone that worked on this issue in order to educate policymakers about what is already being done to address storm water in this state and the disastrous results hitting properties with such a huge tax would cost the local economy.  Click here for a story about this great outcome.

     

    Mar 15

    PROPERTY TAX/PARCEL TAX

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    SCA 3           Leno D            Taxation: educational entities: parcel tax.

    Would condition the imposition, extension, or increase of a parcel tax, as defined, by a school district, community college district, or county office of education upon the approval of 55% of its voters voting on the proposition, if the proposition meets specified requirements. This measure would also make conforming changes to related provisions.

    SCA 4           Liu D               Local government transportation projects: special taxes: voter approval.

    Would provide that the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government for the purpose of providing funding for local transportation projects requires the approval of 55% of its voters voting on the proposition.

    SCA 6           DeSaulnier D   Initiative measures: funding source.

    Would prohibit an initiative measure that would result in a net increase in state or local government costs, other than costs attributable to the issuance, sale, or repayment of bonds, from being submitted to the electors or having any effect unless and until the Legislative Analyst and the Director of Finance jointly determine that the initiative measure provides for additional revenues in an amount that meets or exceeds the net increase in costs.

    SCA 7           Wolk D            Local government financing: public libraries: voter approval.

    Would create an additional exception to the 1% limit for a rate imposed by a city, county, city and county, or special district to service bonded indebtedness incurred to fund public library facilities, that is approved by 55% of the voters of the city, county, city and county, or special district, as applicable, if the proposition meets specified requirements. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.

    SCA 8           Corbett D        Transportation projects: special taxes: voter approval.

    Would provide that the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government for the purpose of providing funding for transportation projects requires the approval of 55% of its voters voting on the proposition.

    SCA 9           Corbett D        Local government: economic development: special taxes: voter approval.

    Would provide that the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government for the purpose of providing funding for community and economic development projects, as specified, requires the approval of 55% of its voters voting on the proposition.

    SCA 11         Hancock D      Local government: special taxes: voter approval.

    The California Constitution conditions the imposition of a special tax by a local government upon the approval of 2/3 of the voters of the local government voting on that tax, and prohibits a local government from imposing an ad valorem tax on real property or a transactions tax or sales tax on the sale of real property. This measure would instead condition the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government upon the approval of 55% of the voters voting on the proposition.

    SB 652          De Saulnier D   Residential construction defect litigation: notice requirements.

    Would revise the notice given to the builder to require that the notice describe the claim in reasonable, specific detail sufficient to determine the nature and location of the claimed violation, the way in which the standard was not met, and the date and time that the claimed violation was observed or determined not to meet the standard, so that a reasonable person would be able to determine the location and nature of the defect. The bill would require a homeowner who makes a claim for damages to record the claim in the chain of title for the property prior to any sale and to notify a subsequent potential purchaser of the claim and the status of the repairs. This bill contains other related provisions.

    AB 59 (Bonta D)   School districts: parcel taxes.

    SPLIT ROLL BILL! Would specify that the provisions requiring uniform application of taxes shall not be construed as limiting a school district from assessing taxes in accordance with rational classifications among taxpayers or types of property within the school district. The bill would specify that the provision is declaratory of existing law. The bill would also express the Legislature’s intent to clarify, and not change, existing law, and to abrogate the holding in Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District, as specified. NOTE: WE HAVE ALREADY TAKEN AN OPPOSE POSITION.

    AB 188           (Ammiano D)   Property taxation: change in ownership.    

    SPLIT ROLL BILL! Would specify that if 100% of the ownership interests in a legal entity, as defined, are sold or transferred in a single transaction, as specified, the real property owned by that legal entity has changed ownership, whether or not any one legal entity or person that is a party to the transaction acquires more than 50% of the ownership interests. The bill would require the State Board of Equalization to notify assessors if a change in ownership as so described occurs. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.  NOTE: WE HAVE ALREADY TAKEN AN OPPOSE POSITION.

    Mar 15

    LAND USE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    SB 511          Lieu D             Coastal resources: California Coastal Act of 1976: oceanfront land.

    Current law requires that oceanfront land suitable for recreational use be protected for recreational use and development unless present and foreseeable future demand for public or commercial recreational activities that could be accommodated on the property is already adequately provided for in the area. This bill would revise that provision to refer to the immediate area.

    SB 673          DeSaulnier D   Land use: development project review.

    Would require a city, county, or city and county, including a charter city or charter city and county, prior to approving or disapproving a proposed development project that would permit the construction of a retail or other commercial facility project, as specified, to cause a cost benefit analysis to be prepared, as specified, which would be paid for by the project applicant. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.

    SB 64            Corbett D        Proposition 39: implementation.

    Would state the intent of the Legislature to install clean energy at public schools, universities, and colleges, and at other public buildings and facilities consistent with the California Clean Energy Jobs Act.

    Mar 15

    LANDLORD/TENANT ISSUES

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    SB 149          Walters R         City property: leases.

    Current law generally prohibits a city from leasing property that it owns or controls for a period exceeding 55 years, but permits a city to lease property that it owns or controls for a period not to exceed 99 years if specified conditions are met. This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

    SB 450          Galgiani D       Unattended collection boxes.

    Would authorize a city or county to provide, by ordinance or resolution, immunity from civil liability to a property owner, or his or her authorized agent, when the owner or agent removes a collection box placed on the owner’s property if the ordinance or resolution includes specified provisions, including the requirement that the owner or agent send a written notice of removal to the address displayed on the collection box prior to removal. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.

    SB 603          Leno D            Landlord and tenant: security deposit.

    Would require a court to award specified statutory damages for the bad faith claim or retention of security or the bad faith demand of replacement security by a landlord or the landlord’s successor in interest. The bill would require an award of statutory damages of not less than the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages, for an unlawful claim or retention or demand of replacement security that is not claimed, retained, or demanded in bad faith. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.