Government Finance and Operations 05/13/2011
SB 653 (Steinberg) – Support
As Amended on April 27, 2011
SB 653, by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would grants counties new taxing authority within limits set by the Constitution.
SB 653 would allow communities that are willing to pay more money for local services to do so, and do so with a revenue source that is appropriate for those communities, without forcing the same of residents in other areas. This is true local control, which counties support.
Specifically, SB 653 would allow counties and school districts to impose the following taxes: personal income, transactions and use, vehicle license fees, oil severance, and excise taxes on products such as cigarettes, alcohol, and sweetened drinks.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider it on Monday, May 16.
SBs 191, 192, and 193 (Committee on Governance and Finance) –
As Amended on May 2, 2011
SBs 191, 192, and 193, by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, would retroactively cure the minor errors and omissions that public officials make throughout the year. In turn, this will give investors confidence in public agencies’ securities and therefore lead to lower interest rates for state and local bonds. They do not correct fraud, corruption, or unconstitutional acts. These “validating acts” are traditionally noncontroversial and receive “aye” votes from all legislators, since with their passage everyone wins.
However, when Senator Wolk presented the validating acts two weeks ago in the Assembly Local Government Committee, Vice Chair Alejo asked for amendments to all three bills. Mr. Alejo said that he was concerned about the actions taken by some redevelopment agencies in recent months in reaction to the Governor’s proposal to end redevelopment agencies. He worried that the validating acts might be used inappropriately to attempt to protect questionable asset transfers and interagency borrowing. Mr. Alejo’s amendments removed redevelopment agencies from the bills’ protections. The Assembly Local Government Committee adopted Mr. Alejo’s amendments on a 7-0 vote. In reaction, the California Redevelopment Agency and the League of California Cities withdrew its earlier support for the three bills.
The Assembly Local Government passed these three bills as amended on an 8-1 vote at its hearing on Wednesday, May 11.
SCA 4 (DeSaulnier) – Support
As Introduced on December 6, 2010
SCA 4, by Senator Mark DeSaulnier, would amend the Constitution to require future initiatives to cover the costs they impose on the state and local governments through increased revenue or decreased costs elsewhere.
The initiative process in California revolutionized citizen participation in government around the world, and it has produced some of the state’s most important policies. However, it is the world’s most inflexible initiative system, and it has contributed to the current fiscal crises at the state and local levels by imposing unchangeable spending requirements on general funds.
SCA 4 would prevent future initiatives from going before voters unless they provided sufficient revenue to cover any net cost increases. Initiative proponents can meet this requirement in either of two ways: by providing sufficient revenue within the measure to pay for new costs or by decreasing other costs.
SCA 4 allows voters to continue making important policy decisions about the state they live in, but requires them to do it in a fiscally responsible way.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider SCA 4 at its hearing on Monday, May 16.