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  • Archive for February 26th, 2016

    Feb 26

    GROVE INTRODUCES LABOR REFORM PACKAGE

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    Assemblymember Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) has introduced a package of bills intended to make government-union books more transparent and allow member to have more say in representation.  AB 2753 would require public employee unions to post budgets online and make them available to members.  AB 2754 would mandate public employee unions hold an election every two years to ratify its continued representation of members.  At press time, both measures are given very long odds of moving through their first policy committees, even by the author.  Grove remarked to the press that the people that want to see the reforms be successful are not well represented on legislative committees

    Feb 26

    CBPA ENDORSES FACILITIES BOND ACT OF 2016

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    The California Business Properties Association (CBPA) has endorsed the Kindergarten Through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2016. The measure, a $9 billion state school facilities bond to adequately fund school construction and modernization projects throughout the state, will appear on the November 2016 ballot.

    “Passing a state school facilities bond in November is going to accomplish important goals: provide an infusion of funds to move projects forward; create good paying jobs; and give students access to great schools.  This investment will strengthen California.” said Rex Hime, President and CEO.

    The last statewide school facilities bond was passed by California voters in 2006. The state’s fund to provide matching dollars to school districts that have already raised local funds for school construction projects has been effectively depleted, leaving a muti-billion dollar backlog of K-14 project applications in limbo. With estimates placing K-14 school construction funding needs for the next decade at more than $20 billion, the school facilities bond will be a significant step forward to address the state’s school construction needs.

    Passing the school bond in November will also help protect one of California’s most successful investment partnerships between the state, local school districts and private business. This successful partnership has been in place since 1998, providing safe and modern schools to millions of children and good paying jobs to regions across the state. According the Center for Strategic Economic Research, every $1.2 billion in annual new construction and modernization investment will create or support more than 15,000 jobs, and result in $2.5 billion in overall economic output benefits for California’s economy.

    “Continuing the investment partnership between the state, school districts, and the business community will help provide students with modern, safe school facilities equipped for their success,” concluded Hime.

    Passing the school bond in November is important to our state’s continued economic success. To find out more click here.

    Feb 26

    BOE SELECTS NEW CHAIR & VICE CHAIR

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    Earlier this week the Board of Equalization (BOE) selected Member Fiona Ma as its new Chair and Member Diane Harkey as Vice Chair. The other Board members include Jerome Horton, George Runner, and State Controller Betty T. Yee.

    The BOE meets monthly and is the only elected tax board in the country. They administer more than 30 tax and fee programs. During fiscal year 2014-15, the BOE managed $60.5 billion of revenue.

    New Vice Chair Harkey stated, “I look forward to another productive year working with my colleagues on the Board to help individual taxpayers, small business owners and our larger employers navigate the maze that is California tax policy, so that we may stimulate job growth and create opportunities for all Californians.”

    The BOE’s monthly meetings offer taxpayers and other interested parties opportunities to participate in the formulation of rules and regulations adopted by the Board.

    We look forward to a continued good working relationship with the BOE.

    Feb 26

    PROPERTY TAX SURCHARGE BALLOT MEASURE DROPPED

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    In a surprising move, the proponents of a measure to add a multi-billion dollar property tax on the 2016 ballot for social programs, have stopped collecting signatures and shut down the effort, vowing, however, that they will try again “another year.”  Proponents said the tax would raise almost $8 billion, with a majority coming from commercial properties.

    At last report, the “Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Act,” had collected a quarter of the signatures needed to make the ballot and was successfully raising money from Hollywood activists.

    The reason give, by former BOE member Conway Collis:  “The 2016 ballot has become too crowded with too many revenue raising measures on it.” “Consequently it makes more sense to qualify early for a later ballot.”

    Political insiders believe, however, the abandonment of the proposition was due to a combination of factors, including the fact that the business community in the state were taking the threat seriously and vowing to push back on the measure.  Combined with the fact that the electorate still shows strong support for Proposition 13, the success of the measure was not assured and a long expensive battle loomed.  Finally, it is assumed that other powerful groups pushing for tax increases – such as extension of income taxes and more tobacco taxes – on the ballot pressured the proponents to move out of the way.

    This is the second property tax initiative that was planned for the 2016 ballot that has been dropped.  The first was a split roll property tax that was walked away from shortly after Governor Brown expressed concern about it.

    CBPA has strongly been arguing that such a tax increase would hurt the economy by raising rents, evaporating jobs, and have a negative impact on small businesses.

    Although there are many factors to the political calculus that goes into these decisions, the fact that the commercial real estate industry has had an ongoing education effort through the Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes should not be underestimated.  Read more here.

    Feb 26

    ACCEPTANCE TESTING COULD INCREASE COSTS

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    A coalition of union groups are pushing an agenda item at the CA Energy Commission that could have an impact on the costs and complications for tenant improvements.  We are asking that members of our industry assist us in reviewing the proposals and provide input.

    According to CEC materials, “Acceptance Tests” ensure code compliance and promote optimization of efficiency and performance for nonresidential buildings. They serve to determine whether specific building components, equipment, systems, and interfaces between systems conform to criteria set forth in the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.  However, there are significant questions on whether the costs and added complications and time delays inherent in layering on more paperwork and inspections, is feasible or would even produce any value added or significant energy savings.

    The Energy Commission is holding a staff workshop on this issue February 29th in Sacramento.  Click here for more information about “acceptance testing” and please provide any feedback you may have.

    Feb 26

    2016 BUILDING EFFICIENCY STANDARDS SEMINAR

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    California’s building efficiency standards have been updated, with changes that will become mandatory in January 2017. This seminar will cover what’s new in Title 24 for both residential and non-residential buildings, from high performance walls and attics to lighting and lighting controls.

    The session will also review challenges that have resulted in implementing the 2103 standards, strategies for addressing them, and solutions to these challenges that may be included in the recent revisions.

    With each cycle, California’s Energy Code is moving closer toward the goal of ZNE for all new construction. It’s vital for you to stay up to date with its evolution.

    Click here for more information and to register.