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  • Archive for April, 2013

    Apr 19

    ANOTHER BIG BOX BAN BILL

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    AB 667 (Hernandez; D – West Covina) creates another layer of bureaucracy for local governments by requiring certain retailers to obtain redundant economic impact and community impact reports before receiving approval. These reports go above and beyond the significant requirements already required by state law, which currently provides for extensive public input and local decision-making. This bill has the potential to create significant delays in the local planning and approval process, tying-up local government resources and delaying job creation and projects desired by communities.  We oppose this measure.  It is set for May 1 in the Assembly Local Government Committee.

    Apr 19

    STATE MANDATED COST-BENEFIT BILL TAKES AWAY LOCAL CONTROL

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    SB 673 (DeSaulnier; D-Concord) is a bill that would erode local governments’ ability to make land use decisions and move forward with infrastructure and development projects that receive over $1 million in subsidies without a state-mandated economic impact report.

    We believe that local governments are able to make decisions regarding such projects in a well-informed manner.  Under current law, local governments can seek advice from a broad range of other government agencies and consultants, and regularly require cost-benefit analysis of projects.

    The “analysis” required by SB 617 is already required and/or can be required by the local government approving the project.  This measure is seen as a way to create an unnecessary hurdle in order to slow certain projects and we are opposing this bill.  It is set for hearing in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on April 24.

    Apr 19

    CALIFORNIA DOES NOT COMPLY WITH CLEAN WATER ACT

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The self-declared most environmentally progressive state in the nation has been deemed “out of compliance” with the nation’s Safe Drinking Water Act.  It seems that the state has been unable to document that it has spent $455 million to improve local drinking water systems.  California’s problems are compounded by the fact that when it does authorize money from this fund to be spent, it goes to projects that are not “shovel ready.”  So, the money gets allocated but is not actually spent.

    According to federal regulators, California needs $39 billion in capital improvements through 2026 for water systems to continue providing safe drinking water to the public.  The fact that our state is unable to spend these funds is a headscratcher.  Some insiders think this is a symptom of the complicated environmental/political issues that such projects need to navigate, compounded by the state’s perennial budget deficits. Read more by clicking here.

    Apr 19

    HOMELESS BILL OF RIGHTS UPDATE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    AB 5 (Ammianno; D-San Francisco) would enact the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act, which would specifically restrict local law enforcement, local governments, and business improvement districts from enforcing local ordinances that “target” the homeless.

    Although we recognize the interconnectedness of safe, decent, and permanent housing when addressing other needs of California’s homeless population, such as mental health or substance abuse treatment or unemployment, we think that any proposed laws must strike a balance between promoting health and safety for all residents and respecting the local designation of resources.  Unfortunately, AB 5 would create costly mandates, blur the line between local jurisdiction authority, and undermine the local decision making process. So we are opposing the bill at the Assembly Judiciary hearing on April 23.

    The California Downtown Association (CDA) has put together a resource page on the bill.  We hope all of our members will weigh in with legislators about how eliminating the discretion of local agencies to deal with this problem will severely impact our businesses:

     ***ACTION ALERT*** CDA AB 5 ACTION PAGE  

    Apr 19

    SPLIT ROLL BILL GOES TO SUSPENSE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    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.

    We have taken a strong “Oppose” position on this bill and testified in committee as to why it would hurt commercial real estate, our tenants, and the state’s economy.  The bill was moved to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee’s “Suspense File” where it will be considered at a later date.

    Apr 15

    JOB KILLER LEGISLATION: EXPENSIVE, UNNECESSARY REGULATIONS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    SB 529 (Leno; D-San Francisco) Disposable Fast-Food Container Ban — Places an unworkable ban on disposable food services containers or single-use carryout bags, unless they can meet an increasing recycling threshold that will reach 75% on July 1, 2020.

    SB 617 (Evans; D-Santa Rosa) Comprehensive CEQA Expansion — Inappropriately expands CEQA, slowing development and growth in the state, by increasing CEQA notice filing and publication requirements, inviting more litigation over CEQA projects by overturning a recent court decision and allowing project opponents to challenge EIRs that don’t adequately evaluate and mitigate impacts related to conditions and physical features in the environment like sea-level rise and fault-lines, and eliminating several existing CEQA exemptions.

    SB 747 (DeSaulnier; D-Concord) Unnecessary New Regulatory Scheme — Establishes a new, duplicative, and burdensome program that requires the Department of Public Health to regulate manufacturers of consumer products that the Department determines contribute to a significant public health epidemic, (ie: obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease) and allows the department to restrict or prohibit the sale of such products.

     

    Apr 15

    JOB KILLER LEGISLATION: PROPERTY TAX ISSUES

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    AB 59 (Bonta; D-Alameda) Split Roll Parcel Tax — Potentially increases the tax burden on businesses by permitting local agencies to assess a higher parcel tax on commercial property than residential property overturning an appellate decision that determined such taxes were unconstitutional.

    AB 188 (Ammiano; D-San Francisco) Split Roll Change of Ownership — Unfairly targets commercial property by redefining “change of ownership” so that such property is more frequently reassessed, which will ultimately lead to higher property taxes that will be passed onto tenants, consumers, and potentially employees.

    ACA 3 (Campos; D-San Jose) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases — Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners to support public safety services by giving local government new authority to enact a special tax, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to only fifty-five percent.

    SCA 3 (Leno; D-San Francisco) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases — Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners for education programs by giving school districts and community colleges new authority to enact a parcel tax from two-thirds to fifty-five percent.

    SCA 4 (Liu; D-La Cañada Flintridge) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases —  Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners for local transportation projects by giving local government new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to fifty-five percent.

    SCA 7 (Wolk; D-Davis) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases —  Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners to finance library construction by giving local government new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to fifty-five percent.

    SCA 8 (Corbett; D-San Leandro) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases – Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners for transportation projects by giving local government new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to fifty-five percent.

    SCA 9 (Corbett; D-San Leandro) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases — Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners to finance community and economic development projects by giving local government new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to fifty-five percent.

    SCA 11 (Hancock; D-Oakland) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases — Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners by giving local government new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to fifty-five percent.

    Apr 15

    JOB KILLER LEGISLATION: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BARRIERS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    AB 52 (Gatto; D-Los Angeles) CEQA Approval Authority for Tribes — Effectively gives Native American Tribes authority to approve or disapprove all land use projects in the state that they unilaterally determine may impact a tribal reservation, rancheria community or cultural sacred place.

    AB 288 (Levine; D-San Rafael) De Facto Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing — Imposes a de facto moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing in the state, driving up fuel and energy prices and harming the job market in these sectors, by basing approval of notices for well operations on a public health and safety standard that is impossible to meet. (More bills to achieve this same goal can be found on the full list.)

    AB 769 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) Creates Inequity in the Tax Structure — Harms struggling small businesses and start-ups by repealing the Net Operating Loss (NOL) carry back deduction, a lifeline that helps employers stay afloat, retain employees, and continue investing in their businesses in an economic downturn.

    AB 823 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Infrastructure — Adds additional costs and hurdles to critically needed new infrastructure and development projects by imposing unreasonable mitigation requirements.

    AB 953 (Ammiano; D-San Francisco) Increases CEQA Litigation — Invites more litigation over CEQA

    projects by overturning a recent court decision and allowing project opponents to challenge EIRs that don’t adequately evaluate and mitigate impacts related to conditions and physical features in the environment like sea-level rise and fault-lines.

    AB 1164 (Lowenthal; D-Long Beach) Inappropriate Wage Liens — Creates a dangerous and unfair precedent in the wage and hour arena by allowing employees to file liens on an employer’s personal property or real property where the work was performed, based on an alleged but unproven wage claim, that will take priority over other existing liens.

    SB 241 (Evans; D-Santa Rosa)  Fuel Price Increase — Drives up fuel prices for businesses and consumers by imposing a severance tax at the rate of 9.9% of the gross value of each barrel of oil severed, thereby discouraging production of such oil and gas in this state.

    SB 622 (Monning; D-Carmel) Targeted Tax — Threatens jobs in beverage, retail and restaurant industries by arbitrarily and unfairly targeting certain beverages for a new tax in order to fund Children’s health programs.

    SB 691 (Hancock; D-Berkeley) Dramatically Increases Pollution Penalties — Dramatically increases existing strict-liability penalties for nuisance-based, non-vehicular air-quality violations, and expands applicability of those penalties to a wide range of businesses previously not subject to the penalties without adequately defining what types and levels of pollution would trigger those penalties.

    Apr 15

    JOB KILLER LEGISLATION: COSTLY WORKPLACE MANDATES

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    AB 5 (Ammiano; D-San Francisco) Increased Exposure to Frivolous Litigation — Imposes costly and unreasonable mandates on employers that could jeopardize the health and safety of others by creating a new protected classification of employees and customers who are or are perceived to be homeless, low income, suffering from a mental disability, or physical disability, and establishing a private right of action for such individuals that includes statutory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

    AB 10 (Alejo; D-Salinas) Automatic Minimum Wage Increase — Unfairly increases California employers’ cost of doing business by raising the minimum wage $1.25 over the next three years and thereafter indexing the minimum wage based on inflation, which fails to take into account the current economic status of the state or other fees and costs employers are required to pay.

    AB 1138 (Chau; D-Alhambra) Massive Exposure to Civil Penalties and Liability — Inappropriately increases civil cases and civil penalties on employers by permitting civil action against those employers who fail to conspicuously post a list of every employee covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy and to retain this list for five years.

    SB 626 (Beall; D–San Jose) Massive Workers’ Compensation Cost Increase — Unravels many of the employer cost-saving provisions in last year’s workers’ compensation reform package and results in employers paying nearly $1 billion in benefit increases to injured workers without an expectation that the increases will be fully offset by system savings.

    SB 761 (DeSaulnier; D-Concord) Paid Family Leave Protection — Creates a new burden on small businesses and additional opportunities for frivolous litigation by transforming the paid family leave program, which is used as a wage replacement for an employee who is taking a separate leave of absence, into an additional paid protected leave.

    Apr 15

    JOB KILLER BILLS 2013

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The CalChamber, on behalf of all of us in the business community, provides leadership on many issues in Sacramento. One way they do that is by compiling a list of the “worst of the worst” bills in order to galvanize opposition to these measures that will decimate economic and job growth in California.

    The list includes 33 proposed laws that threaten California employers with new costly workplace and employee benefit mandates, economic development barriers, regulatory burdens and inflated liability costs.

    We are happy to report that several bills we are fighting, including several property tax measures, the “Homeless Bill of Rights,” and the bill that would make CEQA even more unworkable, all made the list.  Below are some of this year’s Job Killers.  We too, oppose all of these measures.  Click here to see the full list.

    Apr 15

    LAND USE BILLS WOULD STYMIE LOCAL CONTROL AND PROJECTS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    We are tracking two bills in the legislature that will make it more difficult to build large projects and will usurp local government land-use authority:

    SB 673 (DeSaulnier; D-Concord) is a bill that would erode local governments’ ability to make land use decisions and move forward with infrastructure and development projects that receive over $1 million in subsidies without oversight from the state in the form of a comprehensive economic analysis from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR).

    We believe that local governments are currently able to make decisions regarding such projects in a well-informed manner.  Under current law, local governments can seek advice from a broad range of other government agencies and consultants.  The “analysis” required by SB 617 is already required under CEQA and/or can be required by the local government approving the project and are opposing this bill.

    AB 667 (Hernandez; D – West Covina) creates another layer of bureaucracy for local governments by requiring certain retailers to obtain redundant economic impact and community impact report before receiving approval. These reports go above and beyond the significant requirements already required by state law, which currently provides for extensive public input and local decision-making. This bill has the potential to create significant delays in the local planning and approval process, tying-up local government resources and delaying job creation and projects desired by communities.  We oppose this measure.

    Apr 10

    AB 1103 BENCHMARKING RESOURCES/FAQ

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Another new state requirement you should be aware of:  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:

    Final AB 1103 Regulations

    The Energy Commission is 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.