Government Finance and Operations
Utility User Taxes
AB 792 (Mullin) – Oppose
As Amended on August 29, 2013
AB 792, by Assembly Member Kevin Mullin, would exempt distributed generation energy from utility user taxes (UUTs). Companies that own distributed generation equipment are not currently collecting UUTs from their customers, and they are sponsoring the bill to exempt their products from the tax.
Distributed generation is the name given to small electricity generators installed where the energy will be used, like solar panels on roofs, for example. The currently popular business model is for the company that installs the equipment to maintain ownership of it and then sell the energy to the homeowner or business.
The property owner benefits from the arrangement because the distributed generation company charges lower rates than the central electric company. The distributed generation company benefits in two ways, first by selling some electricity directly to the property owner, but also by selling the rest of the electricity back to the grid at retail rates (not wholesale).
If the Legislature believes it is a matter of statewide importance, then they should use statewide revenue to heap yet another benefit onto these few companies that already are the recipient of so many other incentives.
AB 792 is currently on the Senate Floor. If it passes, it will return to the Assembly, where it will have to go through the policy committee process.
SB 360 (Padilla) – Support
As Amended on August 30, 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 passed SB 360 on Wednesday, September 4. The bill is now in the Senate awaiting concurrence of the Assembly’s amendments.