Government Finance and Operations 08/16/2013
SCA 4 (Liu) – Support
As Amended on May 21, 2013
SCA 8 (Corbett) – Support
As Amended on May 21, 2013
SCA 4 , by Senator Carol Liu, and SCA 8, by Senator Ellen Corbett would reduce the vote threshold to 55 percent, from two-thirds, for special taxes for local transportation projects, thereby allowing communities to self-determine the level of revenues they want.
As a matter of long-standing policy, CSAC supports these measures and others that would reduce the vote threshold from the current 2/3 supermajority requirement. We encourage the Legislature to consider all of these measures in a broad discussion about what is appropriate to be placed before the voters in 2014. That discussion should consider the needs and desires of local communities, as well as providing counties the flexibility to pursue special taxes in either the entire county or only in the unincorporated areas.
The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee is scheduled to hear these measures at its hearing next Tuesday, August 20.
SB 1 (Steinberg) – Support
As Amended on May 2, 2013
SB 1, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would create a structure for continuing economic development activities consistent with the state’s sustainable development goals.
The foundation of CSAC’s support is allowing counties a clear option whether or not to financially participate in tax increment financing for economic development purposes. An approach that encourages collaboration between counties and cities will best serve Californians. This approach allows counties control over their own general funds, and also necessitates discussions about what kinds of development benefits the community as a whole.
The Assembly Local Government Committee passed SB 1 at its hearing on Wednesday, August 14. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which has scheduled it for next Wednesday, August 21.
SB 360 (Padilla) – Support
As Amended on August 6, 2013
SB 360, by Senator Alex Padilla, would make various changes to the law to allow a county to devise and test a nonproprietary voting system.
Among the specific changes the bill would make are those that would allow the Secretary of State to conditionally approve a voting system, allow a county to use public funds to develop such a system, and create a process to set the conditions for a pilot program to test the system.
While none of these changes alone represent a revolution in the way elections are run, together they create the opportunity for Los Angeles County to pursue what is frankly a very exciting advance in the administration of elections. Once their system is developed, there is a strong possibility that other counties who are interested could work with LA to implement the system there as well. We urge the Legislature to make these changes so that the effort already underway can continue to move forward.
The Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee passed SB 360 last Tuesday, August 13. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which has scheduled it for next Wednesday, August 21.
Utility User Taxes
AB 300 (Perea) – Support in Concept
As Amended on July 10, 2013
AB 300, by Assembly Member Henry Perea, would create a point-of-sale system for collecting state and local charges—including utility user taxes—on prepaid wireless services.
Local agencies that impose a utility user tax on wireless communication are seeing this revenue source slowly fall, despite the ever-increasing number of cell phone subscribers. One reason for this decline in revenue is the increasing popularity of prepaid, non-contract payment plans. Once associated primarily with users who had bad credit, prepaid wireless plans are becoming a more widespread service model. Due to this business model change, counties can benefit from the development of a system that captures the taxes that are owed on these transactions.
The bill’s proponents have engaged with counties over many months to work out the many details necessary to include local charges in the bill’s provisions. In this spirit of cooperation, we continue to work with the author’s office and the bill’s proponents on some details related to a seller’s duties under the bill, which is the reason for withholding our unqualified support.
The Senate Governance and Finance Committee was scheduled to hear AB 300 at its hearing on Wednesday, August 14, but the bill was put over until next Wednesday, August 21.