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  • Archive for January 10th, 2014

    Jan 10

    THEY’RE BACK!

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The California Legislature has returned to a flurry of activity after taking its Interim Recess and going into deep hibernation over the holidays.  Almost immediately upon returning for their opening Session on Monday, scores of new bills were introduced, picking up right where they left off on issues such as the budget, water, and taxes. 

    Jan 10

    GOVERNOR RELEASES 2014-15 BUDGET

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The state Constitution requires the Governors to submit a budget proposal for the next fiscal each year by January 10, but this year the budget was two days early.  Early release may be the new standard – two years ago, the budget was released five days early after someone inadvertently posted the document to the Department of Finance website. 

    So, the annual budget battle begins.  However, this year the state is planning on a surplus – which may make the battles even more intense, as members of the majority party fight to lock-in  a share of that new revenue for new and existing programs.

    Over the next few months this budget will be dissected, disconnected, taken-apart, reconfigured, lambasted, and generally go through the standard process. 

    Jan 10

    2014-15 BUDGET SUMMARY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    According to the Governor, “the budget maintains the state’s fiscal stability by strengthening and investing in the state’s Rainy Day Fund and continuing to pay down the “Wall of Debt” – the most immediate liability constraining the ability of the state to emerge from its fiscal troubles.

    “Specifically, the Budget makes a $1.6 billion payment into the state’s Rainy Day Fund – the Budget Stabilization Account – which marks the first deposit since 2007, and also directs $967 million to a Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties. And in lieu of Proposition 58 and ACA 4, the Budget proposes a constitutional amendment to bolster the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

    “The Budget also continues to address the $25 billion Wall of Debt, directing more than $11 billion to pay off past budgetary borrowing. This debt, which totaled $34.7 billion in 2011, will be eliminated entirely by 2017-18 under this Budget.”

    Here is a summary of the Governor’s budget, provided by the Assembly Democrat Caucus, with some items of interest to our industry:

    Savings from Redevelopment Elimination

    • Includes General Fund savings resulting from the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) to be $1.1 billion in 2013-14, $785 million in 2014-15, and estimates ongoing savings to be $1 billion annually.
    • Estimates that in 2013-14 and 2014-15 combined, cities will receive an additional $525 million, $605 million for counties, and $205 million for special districts in general purpose revenues from the dissolution of redevelopment. Additionally estimates ongoing property tax revenues of more than $700 million annually for cities, counties and special districts.

    Tools for Local Economic Development

    • Expand the types of projects that Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) may fund to include military base reuse, urban infill, transit priority projects, affordable housing, and necessary consumer services.
    • Allow cities or counties that meet specified benchmarks to create these new IFDs, to issue related debt, and to receive a 55 percent voter approval.
    • Allow new IFD project areas to overlap with the project areas of the former RDAs, while strictly limiting the available funding in those areas to dollars available after payment on all of the former RDA’s approved obligations.
    • Maintain the current IFD prohibition on the diversion of property tax revenues from K-14 schools and require entities that seek to establish an IFD to gain the approval of the county, city, and special districts that would contribute their revenue.
    • Specifies benchmarks for a city or county that formerly operated an RDA to meet before the expanded IFD tool is available including the conclusion of any outstanding legal issues between successor agencies and the state.

    State-County Assessors’ Partnership Agreement Program

    • Establishes the a State-County Assessors’ Partnership Agreement Program on a three-year pilot basis for nine counties, to be funded at $7.5 million per year, and to be administered by the Department of Finance.

    Click here to read the full budget.

    Jan 10

    NEW ENERGY STANDARDS DELAY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    In December, the Energy Commission has taken action to delay Title 24 Energy Standards by six months. The new effective date for the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are July 1, 2014.  The Building Standards Commission also had to take action as some parts of the building code mirror the delayed standards.  However, please note, only those parts of CalGREEN that directly rely on the delayed energy standards are impacted.

    The Energy Commission released the following statement about the delay:

    At its December 11, 2013 Business Meeting, the California Energy Commission is considering revising the effective date for the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Part 1, Chapter 10 and Part 6, and affected provisions in Part 11 [Cal. Green Building Standards Code]) from January 1, 2014 to July 1, 2014.

    The California Energy Commission’s 2013 Public Domain Compliance Software must be used to complete the performance compliance approach of the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. While the public domain software for the 2013 Standards meets the minimum requirements for new construction, it does not yet provide the full feature set needed for building alteration projects seeking building permits in early 2014. The new timeline also provides sufficient time for software training.

    The public domain compliance software for residential buildings has been available since July 2013. Developers have been using the software to not only design buildings to comply but also exceed the new Standards. The public domain compliance software for nonresidential buildings was released in September 2013.

    The California Energy Commission adopted the 2013 Standards on May 31, 2012, and the California Building Standards Commission approved them on January 23, 2013.

    This change provides the industry more time to prepare for the new Standards. The Energy Commission will use the additional time to provide more information on the Standards and work with the California utilities, building industry and California building officials to provide training on the new Standards.

    If approved by the CEC at their December 11th Business Meeting, the six-month delay would still need to be ratified by the Building Standards Commission.  However, the BSC is already taking steps to conduct an emergency meeting on December 18th in anticipation of receiving this CEC request. 

    Click here for more information about 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.  

    Jan 10

    AB 1103 MANDATORY BENCHMARKING SESSIONS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Please note the above mentioned delay does NOT impact the effective date for the AB 1103 Benchmarking law.  If you are not yet ready for the mandatory benchmarking regulations which kick-in on January 1, 2014, refer to directly to the CEC resource page.

    Throughout the end of last year we partnered with the Energy Commission to help owners/managers better understand the policy issues related to the implementation of the AB 1103 Mandatory Benchmarking and Disclosure Law. 

    The effective date of the regulations is January 1, 2014, for all nonresidential buildings more than 10,000 square feet.