Government Finance and Operations 03/22/2013
The Department of Finance has asked the Commission on State
Mandates to revisit a claim related to the Sexually Violent
Predators program, which the Commission first
found to be a mandate in 1998. The
Department claims that
the passage of Proposition 83 (Jessica’s Law, 2006) eliminated
the state’s liability for the mandate. Counties statewide
currently receive over $20 million from the state in
CSAC disagrees. The claim is based on a statute that conflicts with the mandate protections in the Constitution. Furthermore, Proposition 83 merely enhanced penalties for sexually violent predators. The underlying program is one established by the Legislature.
CSAC’s letter opposing the redetermination, sumbitted today, is available online. All other documents related to the matter are available on the Commission’s website.
Counties are encouraged to join CSAC in opposition. Comments are due to the Commission by next Wednesday, March 27.
AB 741 (Brown) – Oppose
As Introduced on February 21, 2013
CSAC has taken an “oppose” position on AB 741, by Assembly Member Cheryl Brown, which proposes to shift property taxes from counties to cities via a new Tax Equity Allocation (TEA) formula that establishes minimum property tax shares for certain cities. Counties are extremely concerned about the consequences of AB 741 in light of our ongoing and significant service responsibilities to all Californians. Counties have taken on substantial new service responsibilities over the past few years and cannot consider the revenue transfer proposed by AB 741 for a number of reasons.
We have encouraged counties to oppose AB 741 and communicate their concerns to the author and their own legislative delegations. Thank you to those counties that have already done so. Assembly Member Brown’s staff has let CSAC know that they do not intend to pursue the bill this year, but remain concerned about the lack of property tax revenue received by certain cities and will be looking to alternatives to resolve their concerns. CSAC will continue to share its perspective on local government revenues and service responsibilities to the Legislature to help facilitate an understanding of the complex system of state and local revenues and responsibilities.
AB 436 (Jones-Sawyer) – Support
As Introduced on February 15, 2013
AB 436, by Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, would apply the principle of comparative fault to inverse condemnation cases where the defendant is a government agency. It would also apply normal tort standards relating to postoffer costs.
The state of the law on the issue of comparative fault has been uncertain for years. Because of the uncertainty, public agencies in inverse condemnation cases are at risk of being found liable for the full cost of a property, even when the agency only had a small part of the fault. AB 328 would settle this area of law reasonably and fairly.
The other provision of the bill would encourage property owners in inverse condemnation cases to accept reasonable settlement offers from the public agency. Under current law, if the property owner recovers anything, they are entitled to their full attorney fees and costs. This is only true for inverse condemnation cases. AB 328 would instead specify that if the plaintiff rejects an offer and fails to obtain a more favorable judgment, the plaintiff cannot recover costs incurred after the time of the offer. These new provisions are not only fairer, but also help to ease the burden on the courts.