Government Finance and Operations
Support Sought for Online Vacation Rental Regulation Bill
CSAC supported Senate Bill 593 (McGuire) will be considered by the Senate Governance and Finance on May 6 and counties are encouraged to review the bill and support the measure.
SB 593 would help county efforts to levy transient occupancy taxes (TOTs) on residential properties offered through online vacation rental services, like AirBnB and VRBO. The measure requires the online rental services to provide information about the properties used for short-term leases and how many nights in the given reporting period that the unit provided temporary accommodations to the local jurisdiction. Counties may opt out of receiving such reports if they choose or use this information to levy and collect TOT.
While residential properties look very different than the commonly recognized hotel or motel, their impact on the local community and services are very much the same. CSAC supports counties’ ability to levy TOT on all appropriate lodging accommodations. Counties are encouraged to review SB 593 and support this helpful measure that maintains local control and preserves an important source of local general purpose revenue.
CSAC’s letter of support available here.
Elections Bill Amends Out Unworkable Polling Place Provisions
Ever since the US Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act in 2013, voting rights advocates have looked for ways to re-implement its provisions. Last session, Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) carried AB 280, which would have established a state-level pre-clearance system for various changes to how elections are administered.
This year, Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) introduced a very similar measure, AB 1301. This bill would require local agencies, when certain conditions related to protected classes exist, to get permission from the Secretary of State’s office before changing district boundaries, changing by-district elections to at-large elections, providing election materials in fewer languages than previously provided, and changing voting locations in certain ways.
The restriction on precincts and changing the population that votes at a particular polling place would be unworkable, given the substantial number of other requirements and administrative difficulties that go into finalizing precincts and polling places, including statutory deadlines for notification to voters.
CSAC testified to this point at the bill’s hearing before the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee earlier this week and the author indicated his willingness to remove the portion of the bill related to precincts and polling places. This amendment will substantially alleviate the concerns that CSAC had expressed to his office.
AB 1301 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee where the bill’s significant fiscal impacts to the Secretary of State’s office will be reviewed.
Diaper Tax Exemption Hits Local Sales and Use Tax Share
Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee – May 4, 2015
AB 717 (Gonzalez) – Oppose unless Amended
AB 717 would provide a tax exemption to state and local sales and use tax to infant and toddler diapers. The annual loss of state and local revenue would exceed $46 million according to the State Board of Equalization and jeopardize a critical funding stream. CSAC will remove our opposition if the bill is amended to only offer the state tax exemption, and leave the local share untouched.
When is a Mobile Home Not a Mobile Home?
Senate Governance and Finance – May 6, 2015
SB 434 (Allen) – Support
This measure would apply an annual property tax assessment to mobile home owners that completely rebuilds their mobile home on a foundation system, leaving only the chassis of the original home in place, rather than have the owner pay annual vehicle registration fees. While this practice is isolated, treating permanent homes as mobile homes is inequitable and SB 434 will stop this practice from growing in the future to ensure tax fairness.