Government Finance and Operations 08/24/2012
Sales and Use Tax
AB 2618 (Ma) – Support
As Enrolled on August 16, 2012
AB 2618, by Assembly Member Fiona Ma, would ensure that purchasers of cars at auction pay the appropriate amount of sales or use tax on those transactions.
Too frequently, unscrupulous Californians avoid paying taxes on cars purchased at auction, especially salvaged auto auctions, by telling the auctioneer that they will be reselling the vehicles later, then never doing so. Many of these vehicles are either never subsequently registered with DMV, or if they are they report a value lower than the actual sale price.
AB 2618 would curb this fraud by requiring those buyers claiming intent to resell to be licensed dealers, dismantlers, repair dealers, or scrap metal processors.
Both houses have passed AB 2618 and it is now on its way to the Governor’s office.
AB 1466 (Assembly Budget Committee) – Pending
SB 1017 (Senate Budget Committee) – Pending
As Amended on August 22, 2012
These twin bills, AB 1466 and SB 1017, would require county election officials to count ballots they receive within three days of Election Day and that are either postmarked on or before Election Day or are accompanied by a signed declaration from the voter that the ballot was mailed before 8pm on Election Day.
“Postmark plus,” as this policy is known, is aimed at the problem caused by the closure of some US Post Office facilities. However, many pieces of mail, as much as fifty to seventy percent in some areas, arrive with the postmark either illegible or missing entirely. This raises concerns about the bill possibly having the opposite of its intended effect. It is too close to the election for local election officials to redesign and in many cases reprint voting materials to provide a space for a signed declaration, and no requirement for them to do so.
The language was amended into these bills this week, and were scheduled to be heard in committee Thursday afternoon; however, that hearing was delayed after the Secretary of State and others raised concerns and it appears that this language will not be moving forward this session.
SB 1331 (Kehoe) – Support
As Enrolled on August 22, 2012
SB 1331, by Senator Kehoe, would create an independent redistricting commission to draw the supervisorial districts in the County of San Diego.
The citizens of San Diego County and that county’s Board of Supervisors have requests an independent redistricting process for their county. The commission contemplated by SB 1331 would ensure transparency by subjecting the commission to the Brown Act and requiring public hearings throughout the county. It requires the county to provide financial support and would be made up of retired judges.
Both houses have passed SB 1331 and it will now make its way to the Governor.
SB 192 (Senate Governance and Finance Committee) – Support
As Enrolled on August 23, 2012
SB 192, by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, will retroactively cure the minor errors and omissions that public officials make, giving investors confidence in public agencies’ securities and therefore lead to lower interest rates for state and local bonds. It does not correct fraud, corruption, or unconstitutional acts. This sort of “validating act” is traditionally noncontroversial and receives “aye” votes from all legislators, since with their passage everyone wins. Last year the validating acts, including SB 192, got caught up in the uncertainty around redevelopment agency dissolution.
SB 192 has overcome those difficulties, passed both houses of the Legislature, and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.
SB 954 (Liu) – Support
As Enrolled on August 22, 2012
SB 954, by Senator Carol Liu, would authorize the State Controller to, at the request of a county or city, offset any payments due to people from the unclaimed property held by the state in order to pay debts those people owe the county or city.
This authority already exists for offsetting tax refunds and lottery winnings. The bill would provide an appeal process for people who believe the billing was in error, ensuring the process is fair to all parties. All current protections for those billed would be retained from the current process.
SB 954 extends a proven, efficient system for recovery of money due to local agencies, and in doing so will ensure millions of dollars owed to counties and cities are paid.
Both houses have passed SB 954 and it is on its way to the Governor for his consideration.