February 2018 – This Month in Sacramento
THIS MONTH IN SACRAMENTO – FEBRUARY 2018 NEWSLETTER
by Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
By Richard Markuson
Region 9 Legislative Advocate
Legislation: The California State Legislature resumed its second year of the 2017-18 session. Several deadlines and events are in February:
• Feb. 16 – Last day for bills to be introduced.
• Feb. 19 – Presidents’ Day holiday.
SB 1 Repeal. The effort to repeal SB 1 continues. The Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance have estimated the fiscal impact on state and local government at: “Reduced annual state transportation tax revenues of $2.9 billion in 2018-19, increasing to $4.9 billion annually by 2020-21. These revenues would primarily have supported state highway maintenance and rehabilitation, local streets and roads, and mass transit. In addition, potentially lower transportation tax revenues in the future from requiring voter approval of such tax increases, with the impact dependent on future actions by the Legislature and voters.” On December 15, 2017, the ballot measure proponents certified that they have collected 25% of the necessary signatures (total signatures required: 585,407) to qualify the measure for the November ballot. The circulation deadline is May 21, 2018.
The Bureau of State Audits released The Department of Water Resources: The Unexpected Complexity of the California WaterFix Project Has Resulted in Significant Cost Increases and Delays. “[T]his audit report [concerns] the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) management of the planning efforts for the California WaterFix Project (WaterFix). [T]he planning phase experienced significant cost increases and scheduled delays. [W]e also found that DWR did not follow state law when it replaced the program manager for the conservation and conveyance program. Additionally, DWR has not completed either an economic or financial analysis to demonstrate the financial viability of WaterFix. Finally, it has not fully implemented a governance structure for the design and construction phase, and has not maintained important program management documents for WaterFix.”
The Kern County Water Agency released California WaterFix Overview (Draft) “This overview is intended to assist landowners, Agency Member units and the Board of Directors with making decisions regarding California WaterFix. [Kern County Water] Agency staff has compiled this overview from the best available information developed over 11 years of study and analysis. This overview attempts to provide an easy, yet complete reference for California WaterFix that may be used to help decision-makers determine whether to participate in the project.”
The CA State Auditor’s office has released its report, “The Bradley-Burns Tax and Local Transportation Funds: Changing the Allocation Structure for the Bradley-Burns Tax Would Result in a More Equitable Distribution of Local Transportation Funding,” explains: “[Bradley-Burns] charges 1.25 percent on the retail sale or use of tangible personal property in the State, of which 1 percent is allocated to counties or incorporated cities to use at their discretion and the other 0.25 percent is allocated to county local transportation funds [LTF]… Revenue from the tax is generally allocated to the city or county that served as the place of sale for a transaction. However, retailers that make Internet sales or ship goods to customers across jurisdictional borders may identify the place of sale as one of their warehouses, which concentrates the tax’s revenue into those warehouses’ jurisdictions. Consequently, counties with relatively large numbers of warehouses generally receive disproportionately larger amounts of the tax’s revenue and therefore LTF funding;” recommends: “The State could make the distribution of the tax more equitable by amending the Bradley-Burns tax law so that revenues derived from Internet sales are allocated based on the destination of sold goods rather than their place of sale.”
The Legislative Analyst’s Office has released its report, “A Review of Caltrans’ Vehicle Insurance Costs,” finds Caltrans’ vehicle insurance premiums have “more than tripled in recent years, increasing from $4.2 million in 2014-15 to $14.6 million in 2017-18,” concludes “increases are almost entirely due to a few recent multi-million dollar claims that have cost far more than any other claim over the last decade;” recommends Legislature consider establishing “statutory limit on the amount of damages for which the state can be held liable for collisions.”