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  • Archive for July 1st, 2014

    Jul 1

    SPLIT-ROLL PARCEL TAX BILL – DEFEATED!

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    THANK YOU!  Thank you, to all of our members that engaged in advocacy on the split roll property tax bill.  Because of your contacts with members of legislative leadership and members of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, this bill was “held in committee” and is effectively dead for the year.

    SB 1021 (Wolk; D-Davis) Split Roll Parcel Tax.  This bill sought to authorize a split roll parcel tax practice that was found illegal last year in what is referred to as the “Borikas” case. Effectively the bill would have allow local school districts to discriminates against commercial property owners by allowing a higher parcel tax than what is imposed on residential property.

    After two weeks constantly working on the measure and educating legislators on the negative impacts, the bill was soundly defeated on a bipartisan vote of 1 “aye,” 3 “not voting,” and 5 “nays.”

    SB 1021 was identified as one of the biggest threats to property owners and was tagged as a “Job Killer” bill.  Over fifty companies and organizations helped with opposition and worked along-side with us to defeat this measure.

    However, we would like to express a special “thank you” to our primary coalition partners who walked the halls of the Capitol on a daily basis, California Taxpayers AssociationCalifornia Chamber of CommerceNational Federation of Independent Business.  This good news would not be possible without these groups working to protect your interests on a daily basis in Sacramento.

    Jul 1

    JOB KILLER BILL RIGHTLY REJECTED

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our friend Allan Zaremberg from the CalChamber has penned an op/ed about the demise of SB 1021.  This is an interesting read:

    The Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee did the right thing by rejecting an unfair, discriminatory split roll bill that would have raised rents and costs for all businesses, especially small businesses.

    SB 1021 (Wolk) sought to allow a school district to impose a parcel tax on property used for commercial purposes as opposed to residential properties.  Similarly, the bill would have allowed a school district to impose a parcel tax solely on properties that exceed a certain square footage so as to only include commercial property and exclude residential property for higher tax rates.

    SB 1021 sought to re-define the term “special taxes that apply uniformly” to mean special taxes that may be applied discriminatorily and unfairly.

    The committee turned back an assault on California’s historic commitment to uniformity and fairness in property taxation.

    Policy makers understood the flaws in this proposal and its potential to kill jobs. The increased costs faced by commercial property owners under SB 1021 would have been passed along to consumers or resulted in hiring reductions or cuts to benefits for workers in local communities.

    Click here to read the story at Fox & Hounds.

    Jul 1

    CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP BILL PASSES

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    In another success for our industry, AB 2372 (Ammiano; D-San Francisco) passed the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance.  This bill is seeking to modernize the “change of ownership” definition under Proposition 13.  We continue to cautiously support the measure.

    As we have reported in the past two weeks, CBPA along with the CalChamber and several other business groups, have been working with the Chair of the Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) to negotiate with the author and sponsors of the measure.  A potentially historic agreement was reached last week and we have been cautiously supportive of the measure as we have been assuring that language in the bill does not have unintended consequences.  The sponsor of the measure has recently pulled its support from this measure creating an interesting dynamic.  (See next story).

    Over the years, some complicated property purchase deals have been used by anti-Prop 13 advocates as “examples” of skirting Proposition 13’s change of ownership rules, whether they were doing that or not.  These “examples” have then become cause celebre and used as a weapon to galvanize anti-Prop. 13 grassroots groups, and coupled with the sophistry of claiming revenue declines, to undermine the law as a whole.  This agreement is meant to update some of the laws implementing statutes to address that specific issues that some transactions have been designed to “game” the system.

    As an organization, we have always staunchly defended Proposition 13 and will continue to do so.  However, part of an effective defense of the law recognizes that some of the original implementation language may need to be updated to assure the goals of Prop. 13 are being met.  We believe this is one of those cases.

    CBPA has worked very closely with tax lawyers from many of our member companies to make sure that the language is addressing the area we are trying to fix and not bleeding over to other parts of the law.  We are also closely coordinating with other business groups in Sacramento to make sure your interests – and the legitimate protections that Prop. 13 was meant to provide – are protected.

    Click here to read the language that is currently in AB 2372

    Jul 1

    DRAMA ON CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP BILL; DEAL FALLS APART!

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    In a surprise move, the  Lenny Goldberg, who represents the California Tax Reform Association, and has been pushing change of ownership bills in the Legislature for years, has pulled support from AB 2372.  This action left only one side of the signators on the agreement noted above, sitting supporting Assemblymember Ammiano in committee.

    This development left many in the Capitol scratching their heads and wondering what was really going on.  Goldberg sent a letter to Mr. Ammiano stating his opposition and advocating that the bill should be changed to apply retroactively.  Applying the bill to past transactions was not part of the original agreement and is not an acceptable change.

    Immediately after the original hearing where the deal was announced, our very own Rex Hime predicted that the unlikely coalition of supporters would stick together “unless one side or the other gets greedy.”

    According to the Sacramento Bee “Goldberg’s pullback drives a wedge between him and Ammiano, who has also been a long-standing champion of changing tax assessments on business property.”

    We will continue to support this measure and uphold our side of the agreement.  We do believe reform makes sense and tightens the law in a manner that addresses abuses in change of ownership as the former proponents of the measure have stated they wanted to fix.

    Click here for a fascinating report on the drama.

    Jul 1

    MINIMUM WAGE BILL DEFEATED

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Yesterday also saw the defeat of Senator Mark Leno’s attempt to raise the state’s minimum wage again, just one year after wage boost agreed to in 2013.  SB 935 sought to push the baseline to $13 an hour and create automatic “cost of living” increases.  With the increase agreed to last year set to go into effect in just two weeks, business groups argued that another mandated increase would further dampen the recovery.  The bill stalled out on a bi-partisan vote in the Assembly Labor and Employment committee.

    Jul 1

    UNFAIR LIEN AND LABOR BILLS PASS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    It wasn’t all good news, however, and we still have plenty of bad bills that we will need to work on.  Here are two of the most urgent:

    Two labor-backed bills that could place pull your business into labor disputes that you have nothing to do with, passed two Senate committees in the past week.  Although we vociferously opposed both bills, we were unable to sway any Democratic votes to support our position and vote against the heavy labor lobbying on the bills.

    AB 2416 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley) Unproven Wage Liens.  This bill creates a dangerous and unfair precedent in the wage and hour arena by allowing employees to file liens on an employer’s real or personal property, or property where work was performed, based upon alleged yet unproven wage claims.

    AB 1897 (Hernandez; D-West Covina) Labor Contracting; Client Liability.  This bill would force one company to essentially insure the wage and hour obligations, workers’ compensation coverage, and occupational health and safety duties of a separate employer’s employees, which will discourage the use of contractors and their employees.

    The CalChamber has identified both bills as “Job Killers,” and a large coalition of business groups are marshalling our forces in Sacramento to educate legislators about negative impacts of this measure.  Both bills move to the Senate Appropriations Committee where we will continue the battle and ask that all of our members get involved.

    Jul 1

    AB 1103 BENCHMARKING – JULY 2 WORKSHOP

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    California’s Mandatory Benchmarking Law AB 1103, officially called the “Nonresidential Building Energy Use Disclosure Program,” has been in effect since January 1 of this year.

    The Energy Commission is would like to know how it is working and has opened up a proceeding to hear from industry, which will happen on July 2.  Several representatives from our Association will be on the panel.  We hope you will participate in person or via phone.  Click here for more information and share with people who will be interested.

    If you have gone through an AB 1103 triggered benchmarking and reporting please send us any brief comments about your experience – good or bad or just observational on the process – by emailing Matthew Hargrove.  We will compile your comments, remove any company specific identifiers, and share with the CA Energy Commission as part of our ongoing partnership with them to help implement this law as smoothly as possible.

    Jul 1

    AB 1103 BENCHMARKING

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    If you are not yet ready for the mandatory benchmarking regulations or are unsure how they apply to you, read further.  As of January 1, 2014, you are required to benchmark all nonresidential buildings of more than 10,000 square feet anytime they are sold, fully-leased, or re-financed. Click here for infographic that will walk you through the basics.

    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 and want to make sure we continue to communicate with our members about their responsibilities under the law.

    Click here to visit the CEC informational page that will give you all of the details about how to comply.

    Jul 1

    WORKSHOP ON LIGHTING EFFICIENCY FOR COMMERCIAL

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    California Energy Commission staff is conducting a workshop to present draft revisions to be considered for inclusion in the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards) (California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Parts 1 and 6). These draft revisions apply to residential and non-residential buildings and include measures relating to lighting.

     

    The provisions have proven to be much more expensive than was reported in the initial adoption.  Many companies in our industry have been shocked to see what it costs to comply with these provisions.  If that applies to your company, and you have some experience to share, please take the time to participate in this workshop.  The CEC can’t fix an issue if it doesn’t have information from practitioners on cost.

     

    The workshop will be used to solicit public comment on proposed draft revisions to the Standards, and will be held:

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 9:00 a.m.

    CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION

    1516 Ninth Street, Hearing Room A

    Sacramento, California

    TO CALL IN:  Parties and the public may attend the Public Workshop in person at the above location or by telephone and/or by computer via our “WebEx” web conferencing system. For additional details on how to participate via WebEx, Click here.

    For more information about this, and other rulemaking points, Click here.

    Jul 1

    TITLE 24 – NON-RESIDENTIAL LIGHTING

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The California Energy Commission newsletter from October has some good, plain English, information about the new Non-Residential lighting Standards.  Click here to check out the “What’s new for Non-Res” stuff relating to lighting is on Page 3 & 4.

    For those who want to get “more into the weeds.” Here is a ling to the full standards.  Many of the summary points above reference the specific section of the standards which can be accessed by Clicking here.

    This is information you need to know!

    Jul 1

    TITLE 24 – ENERGY CODE COMPLIANCE TOOLS – ARE YOU READY?

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    At its May 14 Business Meeting, the Energy Commission approved Integrated Environmental Solutions’ (IES) Virtual Environment 2013 software. Also referred to as VE 2013 Feature Pack for Title 24, it is the first commercial software to be approved for demonstrating performance compliance with the nonresidential provisions of the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. Click here to visit the IES website for more information.

    The Energy Commission also approved an updated version of CBECC-COM at its April 22, 2014 Business Meeting. CBECC-COM v2 improvements include a 2D simplified geometric input method, and for additions and alterations to existing buildings – also known as Existing+Additions+Alterations projects (E+A+A).  CBECC-Com is a public domain software program developed by the Energy Commission to determine compliance with the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.  CBECC-Com uses EnergyPlus v8.0 to perform simulations and Sketchup (v8.0/Pro) with OpenStudio-SketchUp Plugin for geometry input.

    Up-to-date information for downloading and using all Energy Commission-approved standards compliance software can be found by Clicking here.

    For compliance assistance with the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, contact the Energy Standards Hotline toll-free in California at 800-772-3300 and outside California at 916-654-5106, or via email at title24@energy.ca.gov.

    Jul 1

    GOV’S ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC LEADERSHIP AWARDS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Below is information regard the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards.  The GEELA program recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, building public-private partnerships, and strengthening the state’s economy. Applications are due Friday, July 11, 2014.

    If you have given similar awards locally, we highly encourage you to move those projects forward for  statewide recognition.  In years past several commercial properties have participated in this program. If you are at a local association, we encourage you to look at member companies that have recently been recognized, as the same nominating materials can easily be adapted to this recognition.  If you have a potential nomination, please strongly consider submitting!

    2014 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards (GEELA) program are available by Clicking here.