Government Finance and Admin Policy Update: Early Successes and Ongoing Challenges
April 26, 2018
The Government Finance and Administration (GFA) policy unit is pleased to report early successes on several bills before the critical “fiscal deadline” for any legislation needing to move past the first round of policy committees if it creates additional costs. There are also ongoing challenges in the “house of origin” that should be noted for counties to engage on in the coming weeks.
This bill would have required counties to provide a series of debt and financial data on property tax bills. Information would include the county’s total debt, the annual operating expenses, the total unfunded pension liability, and other pension-related data. CSAC opposed this measure because the information could create further confusion and mislead property owners in their effort to understand local government finances. The author decided this week to not move the bill any farther, letting it die in Assembly Local Government Committee. For more information on AB 2508, see CSAC’s opposition letter and the full text of the measure.
AB 3068 would have required county auditor-controllers to also be the chief auditor, which undermines Boards of Supervisors authority, and also would have widely opened the doors for auditor-controllers to obtain outside counsel to challenge Supervisorial actions. CSAC, the Rural County Representative of California (RCRC) and Urban Counties of California (UCC) lobbied in opposition to the bill and successfully secured amendments that strike out the concerning sections of bill, leaving only the ability for auditor-controllers to request the hiring of outside legal counsel in rarest of cases. As a result, CSAC and the coalition removed opposition. For more information on AB 3068, see the county coalition letter removing opposition and the full text of the measure.
AB 2154 would have standardized and expanded “release time” for employees to engage in union shop duties without loss of compensation. This bill would not only erode the collective bargaining process, but it would also nullify negotiations codified last year on new employee orientations. The author pulled the bill twice from Committee before the hearing and it is no longer eligible for the 2018 session. For more information on AB 2154, see the local government coalition’s opposition letter and the full text of the measure.
AB 2571 would have created a restriction for California public pension systems against making a new, additional, or renewed investment in an alternative investment vehicle if it is managed by an investment manager that has not adopted nor committed to comply with a race and gender pay equity policy. CSAC was among a lengthy list of opposition concerned about the possible financial consequences that would negatively impact the overall health of pension funds in California. Facing such stiff opposition, the author pulled the bill from Committee without a hearing. For more information on AB 2571, see CSAC’s opposition letter and the full text of the measure.
AB 1912 is seeking to apply prospective and retroactive joint and several liability for all retirement-related obligations to any current or former member of a Joint Powers Authority (JPA). The sponsors, SEIU, assert the bill is needed to prevent CalPERS from reducing the retiree and employee benefits following the dissolution of a JPA. CSAC and other local government associations strongly oppose this measure due to the devastating affect it would have on the use of JPAs as a tool for local governments to address service demands and infrastructure needs. The bill was recently passed by two policy committees and will be heard next in Assembly Appropriations. For more information on AB 1912, see the local government coalition’s opposition letter and the full text of the measure.
SB 946 is seeking to undermine local control by creating strict standards on business regulations for sidewalk vendors. For some counties, the rules would be more onerous and harder to enforce than what is currently in place. CSAC is deeply concerned this bill will impact health, safety, natural resources and economic vitality all while undermining county authority.
CSAC is opposed, along with a long list of stakeholders including cities, business interests, park advocates and more. For more information on SB 946, see CSAC’s opposition letter and the full text of the measure.
In addition, there are numerous labor-sponsored measures advancing through the Legislature that are concerning for counties and public employers at large. They range from needing simple amendments (for instance, AB 1937 related to automatic payroll deductions) to hugely problematic (for instance, SB 1085 related to loss time). CSAC is still assessing these bills for impacts, but will remain vigilant in forging coalitions to defeat or improve these measures.
CSAC staff greatly appreciates all of the feedback provided to date and will continue to keep counties apprised of any major developments. For additional information, including position letters and full bill language, please visit www.counties.org/legislative-tracking or contact GFA legislative staff Dorothy Johnson or Tracy Sullivan for questions or more information.