Government Affairs Council Greater Fresno Area Chamber of ...

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GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS C
OUNCIL


Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce

2331 Fresno Street

Fresno, CA 93716
-
1469

www.FresnoChamberAdvocacy.com


MEETING AGENDA


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

12:00pm


Presiding:


Ruth Evans, Chair

Bruce Batti
, Vice Chair


Call to O
rder and Roll Call


Chair’s Report




Eggs & Issues


May 14 INFORMATION



State of the City


May 27






INFORMATION



Local, State, Federal Legislative Staff Update
s


New Business


1.

Proposed Fee Reductions at FYI





INFORMATION

Fresno

Airport Director Russ Widmar


2.


Proposed Local Hiring Ordinance






ACTION


Tim Mudge, Carpenters Union Local 701


Bruno Dietl, Vulcan Construction and
Kim

Bethell, Grizzly Construction




3.

Legislative Report









AC
TION



a.

HR 2460/S1152 (Dodd and DeLauro) Healthy Families Act
-

OPPOSE

b.

SB 1113 (Wolk) Tax Administration: Determinations
-

OPPOSE

c.

AB 2727 (Bradford)
Criminal Convictions
-
OPPOSE

d.

AB 2518 (M. Perez) Economic Development
-

SUPPORT

e.

AB 2230 (Calderon) Publicly Traded Companies
-

OPPOSE

f.

AB 2171 (Calderon) Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions
-

OPPOSE

g.

AB 2769 (committee bill) Public Utilities Commission Pr
esident
-

SUPPORT

h.

AB 2666 (Skinner)
Income Taxes: Franchise Tax Board
-

OPPOSE

i.

SB 1086 (Florez)


Tax Expenditure Reporting
-

OPPOSE

A
djourn


If you have any questions

regarding this agenda please co
ntact Kerri Ginis at

kginis@fresnochamber.com or at (559)

495
-
4818





GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS C
OUNCIL


Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce

2331 Fresno Street

Fresno, CA 93716
-
1469


www.FresnoChamberAdvocacy.com


MEETING MINUTES


Presiding:


Ruth Evans, Chair

Bruce Batti
, Vice Chair


Committee:


Government Affai
rs Council


Chairperson:


Ruth Evans

Vice
-
Chair:


Bruce Batti

Meeting Date
/Time:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meeting Place:


Fresno Chamber of Commerce

Committee at
tendees:

Ruth Evans, Bruce Batti, Bill Avakian, Ryan Jacobsen, Larry Fortune, Debbie
Hunsaker
, Victoria Salisch, Jared Gordon, Scott Miller, Al Smith

Committee absences:

Lydia Zabrycki, Lorraine Salazar, Brian Forrest, Mark Rapin


Staff:

Kerri Ginis

Audience members:

Jeff Roberts, Jack Hall, Ken May, Dick Castner, John Dugan, Elliott Balch, Carl

Jones


CALL TO ORDER




Ruth Evans call
ed the meeting to order at 12:10 p.m.




All present introduced themselves




Ruth Evans introduced two new GAC members: Mark Rapin and Bill Avakian




Dick Castner with the U.S. Chamber gave an overview of federal issues a
nd said that the financial
reform bill is currently being debated and poses some problems for business. He also said that
although the healthcare legislation has been passed there are some parts of the bill that they are
hoping to get repealed. And a new e
nergy/climate bill is being introduced in the Senate that isn’t
as bad as the Cap and Trade bill passed by the House last year.


MSC

Approve Minutes



1.

Central Business Area Modifying District




Fresno Planning and Development Director John Dugan made a
presentation to the Chamber’s
GAC that would allow the city to move forward with loosening up development codes in
downtown before waiting for the two
-
year specific plan to be completed.




These interim zoning codes could be put into place as early as this
summer. The codes include
revised parking standards, changes to development and design standards in downtown.




The interim zoning codes would apply to the city’s urban core surrounded by Divisadero to the
north and the two freeways on the east and south. I
t would take out the need for businesses to
obtain conditional use permits and instead allow for many
by right

uses, such as for outdoor
dining, nightclubs, restaurants.




The Downtown Association has already approved the new zoning codes and there is no r
eal
opposition yet.


MSC

SUPPORT


2.

June 2010 Ballot Initiatives




Proposition 13


MSC

SUPPORT




Proposition 14


MSC

SUPPORT




Proposition 15


MSC

OPPOSE




Proposition 17


MSC

SUPPORT


3.

Legislative Report




SB 960


MSC

SUPPORT




AB 1771


MSC

SUPPORT




SB 928


MSC

OPPOSE




SB 885


MSC

OPPOSE




SB 967


MSC

OPPOSE




AB 2561


MSC

SUPPORT




SB 657


MSC

OPPOSE




AB 1804


MSC

SUPPORT




SB 1121


MSC

OPPOSE




SB 1474


MSC

OPPOSE




SB 1304


MSC

OPPOSE




AB 2340


MSC

OPPOSE




AB 2138


MSC

OPPOSE




AB 1846


MSC

T
ABLE




SB 1231


MSC

OPPOSE





A
CTION

AGENDA ITEM
2

Government Affairs Council

May
12, 2010


Local Hiring Preference Ordinance


Sources


Nicole Goehring, Associated Builders and Contractors

Central California Builders Exchange

Fresno
-
area contractors

City

Council Member Lee Brand

Tim Mudge, Carpenters Union

Associated General Contractors of California

City of Fresno Planning and Development staff


Staff Recommendation


Oppose


Summary


1.

A proposed local hire preference ordinance that would have the city of
Fresno hire those
companies that put forth a “good faith effort” to have at least 50% of their workers, who work on
local projects, live in Fresno County.



Background


2.

This is an effort being pushed throughout the state, so far, only Stockton has approved

a similar
local preference hiring ordinance.


3.

The purpose is to keep local residents employed by having the city contract with those companies
that try to employ those workers who live in the county.


4.

This ordinance can only apply to those public works pr
ojects in the city that aren’t federally
funded. The city of Fresno says that currently it has 48 projects under contract, 21 of those are
federally
-
funded. The remaining 27 projects are contracted with companies that have around 55%
of their workers livin
g in Fresno County.


5.

Many local contractors say they don’t support hiring preference ordinances because it limits their
ability to bid on work outside of Fresno, which many of them currently do.



A
rguments in Support


6.

This will help local businesses recei
ve more work in the city of Fresno


7.

This will pump more money into our local economy.


8.

This is
help spur job creation and job retention in the Fresno area


Arguments in Opposition


9.

Local contractors say this will limit their ability to do work in other cit
ies if every one adopts a
local preference ordinance


10.

Many contractors have workers and subcontractors who live in neighboring counties, but they
wouldn’t be able to hire those workers because they aren’t considered “local”.


11.

City Planning and Development
staff say they already make an effort to contract with local
companies and that this would add more cost to the city because they would have to hire people to
monitor and make sure companies are really using local workers and that they are putting forth a
good faith effort to hire local. City attorney’s office also said this open the city up to the potential
for lawsuits from companies that feel they are being discriminated against in the bidding process.



Supporting Organizations


Carpenters Union

City of

Stockton


Opposing Organizations


Associated Builders and Contractors

Associated General Contractors

Central California Builders Exchange

Fresno
-
area contractors





A
CTION

AGENDA ITEM
3

Government Affairs Council

May 12
, 2
010


Legislative Report


HR 2460
/S1152


Healthy Families Act



Sources


U.S.

Chamber of Commerce

Library of Thomas Bill Analysis

Newspaper articles


Staff Recommendation


Oppose


Summary


1.

Requires companies that have 15 or more employees to provide one hour of paid sick leave for
every
30 hours worked or up to seven sick days a year for each full
-
time employee.


Background


2.

Some states


California, Ohio, Maine and New Jersey


have considered similar bills requiring
paid sick leave. San Francisco and Washington D.C. have passed laws tha
t require it for private
-
sector employees. New York City is debating a similar measure.


3.

Currently, only 25% of low
-
wage workers have paid sick leave.


4.

More than 50 million American workers, nearly 40% of the private labor force


don’t get paid if
they m
iss work because of illness.



Arguments in Support


5.

This will help cut down on workplace illnesses by allowing people the time they need to get better
rather than come to work sick.


6.

This ensures that all workers


regardless of income or status


receive

paid sick leave.


7.

This will help improve worker productivity if employees are healthy and feeling their best while at
work.



Arguments in Opposition


8.

This is a mandate on business at a time when many are faced with serious economic problems and
job losse
s. They would have to incur higher costs by paying those employees who call in sick plus
pay for others to fill in for the employee who is out.


9.

Many employers already offer some form of paid sick leave for their workers.


10.

Mandating seven days of paid sick

leave doesn’t allow employers to design benefits that best meet
the needs of their employees and their organizations.


Supporting

Organizations


Institute for Women’s Policy Research

National Partnership for Women and Families


Opposing

Organizations


US
Chamber of Commerce

National Federation of Independent Businesses

Employment Policies Institute



SB 1113 (Wolk) Tax Administration: Determinations



Sources


California Chamber of Commerce

Legislative Bill Analysis

Newspaper articles

Board of Equalization




Staff Recommendation


Oppose


Summary


1.

This would allow the Franchise Tax Board to sue

corporate taxp
ayers who have won an appeal
with the Board of Equalization.


Background


2.

This bill would allow the Franchise Tax Board to file a civil action against
a taxpayer once a final
determination has been made by the Board of Equalization regarding disputed tax claims.


3.


This bill has been amended to pertain only to corporate taxpayers with a tax discrepancy greater
than $1million and personal income taxpayers
greater than $100,000.


4.

Under current law, if a taxpayer disagrees with a BOE decision on the tax discrepancy, that
taxpayer can go to court to resolve the dispute. However, when BOE makes a determination
against the Franchise Tax Board, the FTB is left wi
thout further recourse.


Arguments in Support


5.

This aims to bring more consistency with BOE decision
-
making by allowing both sides of a tax
dispute the right to an appeal and sets up better court precedent for the BOE’s decision
-
making
process.


6.

Given the
expense of litigating tax appeals, it’s highly unlikely that the Franchise Tax Board
would only seek to appeal the largest and most complex tax matters.


7.

The Franchise Tax Board is often left to settle many of its claims because it has no recourse
beyond t
he Board of Equalization


this will help to level the playing field.


Arguments in Opposition


8.

This could force more taxpayers to settle because of the cost associated with litigating against the
Franchise Tax Board in civil court.


9.

This bill creates an i
ncentive for the Franchise Tax Board to pursue appeals because the agency
can use the appeal as leverage for the taxpayer to settle and because the agency knows that the cost
of challenging FTB operate as a deterrent to the taxpayer’s fighting an appeal.


10.

This puts the burden of proof on the taxpayer even though they have already met that burden in
their prior appeal.


Supporting

Organizations


Board of Equalization Chairperson Betty Yee



Opposing

Organizations


California Taxpayers’ Association

California

Aerospace Technology Association

California Bankers Association

California Chamber of Commerce

California Manufacturers and Technology Association

TechAmerica

Board of Equalization Acting Member Barbara Alby




AB 2727 (Bradford) Criminal Convictions



S
ources


Legi
slative Bill Analysis

Newspaper articles

Cal Chamber





Staff Recommendation


Oppose


Summary


1.

Prohibits and employer from denying an application for employment to an individual based on
prior conviction for a criminal offense.


Background


2.

Re
search indicates that reentry into the labor market is among the most challenging situations
faced by those who are formerly incarcerated. Oftentimes, the application for employment never
advances beyond the first round once the “conviction box” is noticed
.


3.

Many years ago, the EEOC modified its policy for denying
an individual employment

based on a
conviction record. The revised policy requires that an employer determine the action was justified
based on a business necessity.
To absolutely bar employme
nt based on the mere fact that someone
has a criminal record is unlawful under the Federal Civil Rights Act.


4.

New York has a state law similar to the provisions provided in this bill. The New York law
however goes a step further in that it requires employe
rs to submit a written statement, within 30
days, stating the reasons why someone was denied employment. Employers who violate the New
York Law can be charged with a misdemeanor.


5.

Research also indicates that excluding individuals from employment based on
their past criminal
records has an adverse impact on African Americans and Latino workers who are
disproportionately convicted at a higher rate than the rest of the population.



Arguments in Support


6.

This bill protects the employment rights of those with
prior convictions. The road to rehabilitation
includes the opportunity for employment.


7.

California’s recidivism rate is 70%
-

one of the highest in the nation


and this could help reduce
that and reduce prison overcrowding.


8.

This will help lower crime and

lower the cost of incarceration in California.



Arguments in Opposition


9.

This bill unfairly burdens employers by forcing the employer to demonstrate that there is an
unreasonable risk to property or public safety if this person with a conviction is hired
.


10.

Th
is bill would drive up employer costs and encourage lawsuits while discouraging economic
activity.


11.

Current law already provides significant protections to job applicants with criminal records

and
employers are already not allowed to deny an applicant

a job based on a conviction. This new
legislation is subjective and makes it difficult for employers to navigate.


Supporting

Organizations


American Civil Liberties Union

California Employment Lawyers Association

California Labor Federation


AFL
-
CIO

Cal
ifornia Nurses Association

City of Compton

Greater Sacramento Urban League

National Employment Law Project



Opposing Organizations


Associated General Contractors

Association of California Insurance Companies

California Apartment Association

California Ch
amber of Commerce

California Employment Law Council

National Federation of Independent Businesses




AB 2518 (M. Perez) Economic Development



Sources


Legislative Bill Analysis

California Chamber of Commerce

Newspaper Articles


Staff Recommendation


Suppo
rt


Summary



1.

Authorizes the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank to establish a local
assistance program to provide technical support to small and rural communities in the state in
obtaining financing for infrastructure projects.


Backg
round


2.

Unemployment rates in some of the state’s rural communities, including many in the Valley, are
as high as 40% in some areas. Many are struggling to find jobs in these areas that are largely
dependent on agriculture.


3.

This bill would allow many of th
ese rural communities to receive financial assistance so that they
can begin to address the infrastructure needs in their communities.


4.

Local bonds and money would be used strategically for priority projects to ensure that taxpayer
money is spent on the mo
st important projects that will best benefit these communities.


5.

Th
ere will be an effort to utilize public
-
private partnerships to maximize private investment in
these public projects that benefit both the public and private sector of the community.


Argum
ents in Support


6.

T
his would help to create jobs in these rural communities that have staggering unemployment
rates.


7.

By having the proper infrastructure in place, many of these communities will be able to attract
more businesses to the area and improve the
ir local economy.


8.

This encourages the private sector to make investments in their communities.


Arguments in Opposition


9.

It’s unclear the economic impact this may have on the state by obtaining financing for these
projects.




Supporting

Organizations


Ca
lifornia Chamber of Commerce


Opposing

Organizations


No formal opposition at this time




AB 2230 (Calderon) Publicly Traded Companies



Sources


Legislati
ve Bill Analysis

Newspaper articles

California Chamber of Commerce


Staff Recommendation


Oppose



S
ummary



1.

This
bill
requires the Franchise Tax Board to post on its website a list of the 100 largest publicly
traded corporations and disclose certain tax
-
related information.


Background

.

2.

Since the Civil War, tax information had often been available to t
he public and it wasn’t until
1976 that the IRS was prohibited form disclosing tax returns.


3.

The shift that made tax returns confidential came in
response to allegations that the Nixon
administration had improperly used tax returns against its political op
ponents.


4.

Still certain tax information is still readily available to the public
.

The state of California, and
other states, publish information on unpaid taxes and delinquent taxpayers with respect to property
taxes.


5.

Certain states have some sort of publ
ic disclosure of state income tax information. Currently, some
12 states mandate disclosure of economic development tax incentives claimed by companies.


6.

This bill requires the FTB to post the following information on each corporation


the name, the
corp
oration number, the address of the principal office, the aggregate amount of tax expenditures,
the effective tax rate,
and the

taxable income of the taxpayer for the year and the tax expenditures
of the taxpayer.



Arguments in Support


7.

Making corporate in
come tax returns public would shed light on the effectiveness of tax policies
designed to promote economic development and improve tax compliance.


8.

Tax disclosure helps policymakers and the public evaluate whether existing tax laws implement
good corporate

tax policy.


9.

This will help increase political pressure for a more fair and efficient tax system.


Arguments in Opposition


10.

This bill erodes important taxpayer confidentiality and would only perpetuate the commonly held
belief that California has a poor b
usiness climate.


11.

It doesn’t serve any purpose to list publicly the names of companies that receive tax benefits along
with private information regarding tax
rates;

this alone will not increase the efficacy of any tax
expenditure in question.


12.

Currently, t
he only disclosure of taxpayer information is the Delinquent Taxpayers list so to list
honest taxpayers alongside ones that don’t pay their taxes gives a wrong impression about these
companies.



Supporting

Organizations


California Tax Reform Association



Opposing

Organizations


California Taxpayers Association

California Aerospace Technology Association

California Bankers’ Association

California Chamber of Commerce

California Manufacturers and Technology Association

TechAmerica





AB 2171 (Calderon) Tax

Credits, Deductions and Exemptions



Sources


Legislative Bill Analysis

Newspaper articles

California Chamber of Commerce


Staff Recommendation


Oppose


Summary


1.

Requires that the cost of tax benefits be accounted for within the annual state budget.



Bac
kground


2.

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires that the federal budget include estimates for tax
expenditures, but only for those provisions that affect the federal income taxes of individuals and
corporations.


3.

Most federal and state tax expendit
ures do not go through a direct appropriations process each
year. Tax expenditures continue and often expand with no vote; for example, the value of
charitable deductions rises with an expanding economy.


4.

This bill would require annual law changes that sta
te the amount of each tax benefit that would be
allowed in a year and make an appropriation for the tax benefits allowed.


Arguments in Support


5.

Sound tax
policy includes

simplicity, transparency and certainty.


6.

Taxpayers need to know that a tax exists, ho
w to determine the tax and how and when it is
imposed on them and others.


7.

This bill would provide accountability for every new tax expenditure to ensure that the state has
the necessary resources to continue providing these benefits.


Arguments in Opposit
ion


8.

This creates uncertainty regarding long
-
term planning for businesses. Many who chose to locate
here rely on the existence that a current tax incentive will remain in place for years to come.


9.

This is essentially having a one
-
year sunset on all tax inc
entives which would make them
completely ineffective in attracting jobs to California.


10.

This sends a chilling message that California is not a reliable place to do business.



Supporting

Organizations


No formal support at this time


Opposing

Organizations


California Aerospace Technology Association

California Bankers Association

California Chamber of Commerce

California Manufacturers & Technology Association of America

California Taxpayers’ Association




AB 2769 (committee bill)



Sources


Legislative Bi
ll Summary

Newspaper articles

California Chamber of Commerce


Staff Recommendation


Support


Summary


1.

Requires that the President of the California Public Utilities Commission appear before the
Legislature to report on the annual work plan and requires tha
t the Public Utilities Commission
develop the annual work plan.



Background


2.

This bill makes minor technical changes to two code sections by requiring the president of the
CPUC to annually appear before the appropriate policy committees of the Senate and
the
Assembly to report on the annual work plan.


3.

All of the provisions of this bill are non
-
substantive and without opposition.


4.

The Public Utilities Commission has been consulted and expressed no concern with this bill.



Arguments in Support


5.

Provides ov
ersight and accountability by providing an update on the commission’s work.


6.

Keeping the Legislature apprised of the commission’s work ensures that the state is doing its best
to meet the goals of the Public Utilities Commission.


7.

This

ensures the Legislat
ure understands the role of the PUC.


Arguments in Opposition


8.

This is something that the President of the PUC should already be doing to ensure the commission
is completing its work.



Supporting

Organizations


California Chamber of Commerce


Opposing

Or
ganizations


No formal opposition at this time





AB 2666 (Skinner) Income Taxes: Franchise Tax Board




Sources


Legislative Bill Analysis

Newspaper articles

California Chamber of Commerce


Staff Recommendation


Oppose


Summary


1.

Requires a taxpayer doing

business in California to submit to the Franchise Tax Board specified
information about the amount of tax credits claimed by the taxpayer and publish it on the Internet.



Background


2.

In 2009, nearly $14.5 billion
in tax expenditures went to corporations
as an incentive for them to
do business and create jobs in the state.


3.

Currently, there is no oversight or accountability of that money to assess its effectiveness at
creating or retaining jobs.


4.

Federal lawmakers have limited access to some information o
n corporate profits through the SEC
filings, but almost no public information is available to state legislators in evaluating the state
corporate income taxes.


5.

AB 2666 is part of a package of bills that will ensure that corporations that receive tax credi
ts use
taxpayer dollars to create or retain jobs.


Arguments in Support


6.

A publicly accessible database will provide policymakers as well as the public with the
transparency needed to hold the recipients of tax expenditures accountable.


7.

Billions of dollar
s are handed out to corporations in the form of tax credits and there is very little
oversight as to how that money is being used.


8.

This bill will show which corporations are using taxpayer dollars properly and which ones are not.


Arguments in Opposition


9.

This erodes taxpayer confidentiality and will portray California as having a poor business climate.


10.

This bill requires taxpayers to report the number of jobs created by the tax credit but is vague as to
how the taxpayer is supposed to calculate the numbe
r of jobs created.


11.

The proposed reporting requirements will be burdensome and costly for many small businesses as
well as the FTB, which will have to process millions of additional disclosure statements.


Supporting

Organizations


Service Employees Inter
national Union

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees, AFL
-
CIO

California Labor Federation

California Nurses Association


Opposing

Organizations


California Bankers Association

California Aerospace and Technology Association

Calif
ornia Grocers Association

California Manufacturers and Technology Association

California Taxpayers Association

TechAmerica




SB 1086 (Florez) Tax Expenditure Reporting



Sources


Legislative Bill Summary

Newspaper articles

California Chamber of Commerce



Staff Recommendation


Oppose



Summary


1.

Requires the Franchise Tax Board to report and post on the Internet the name and address of any
California business receiving a tax credit of $1,000 or more.


Background


2.

Existing law generally maintains that all ta
x information collected by the Franchise Tax Board
remain confidential.


3.

The name, mailing address and California corporation number will be posted for any business
receiving credits of $1,000 or more.


4.

All data should be available for download by the pub
lic.



Arguments in Support


5.

Increases the transparency and accountability of the tax subsidies given to California corporations
every year.


6.

The current system prevents the public from seeing who is taking subsidies and how much they
are getting.


7.

It is i
mportant now more than ever to see that taxpayer dollars are being spent properly.


Arguments in Opposition


8.

If the Legislature believes that tax incentive program is ineffective than it should eliminate that
program
.


9.

This only erodes important taxpayer c
onfidentiality and perpetuates the belief that California has a
poor business climate.


10.

This
punishes those businesses that take advantage of worthwhile tax incentive programs
.


Supporting

Organizations


Consumers Federation of California


Opposing

Organiz
ations


California Chamber of Commerce

California Bankers Association

California Aerospace and Technology Association

California Grocers Association

California Manufacturers and Technology Association

TechAmerica