Industry Headlines & Action Alerts

 

November 30, 2012

SPECIAL EDITION

Although the eWeekly is on hiatus until the New Year, a new report on property tax has been released, so we thought it was appropriate to come out of hibernation for long enough to send a quick note.

 

SWEARING-IN ON MONDAY

On Monday, members of the 2013-2014 California State Legislature will be sworn-in to office.  The freshman class of legislators includes the largest number of new faces – 38 – since any class in over 70 years.  Last night, your BOMA representatives in Sacramento had the opportunity to meet with about a dozen of the first term legislators at a small “policy dinner.”  We were able to speak with new legislators in an intimate setting to educate them about issues important to the commercial, industrial, and retail estate industry, and by the same token hear about legislative priorities.

One speaker at the event noted that because this incoming class is so large, they will have the opportunity to re-shape the institution into something more modern and collegial.  We thought this was sage advice and look forward to working with members of the State Assembly and Senate over the next two years.

STATEWIDE SPLIT ROLL CONFERENCE CALL

We very much want to thank all of our members that took the time to participate in the Split Roll Property Tax conference call that we hosted the week after Thanksgiving.  The response for participation in the call for was so great that it swamped our conferencing capabilities!  The first steps in defeating a split roll are making our industry aware of the potential threats and getting everyone politically engaged.  From the overwhelming participation in the call, we obviously are primed and ready for whatever may come next year.

As you know, we are founding members of a coalition group named Californians Against Higher Property Taxes.  Our coalition website is a good resource for news and information related to attempts to increase your property taxes, including two academic studies that show the negative impacts a split roll would have on California’s economy.  Click here to visit the CAHPT website.

 

UNDERSTANDING CALIFORNIA’S PROPERTY TAXES

The Legislative Analyst’s Office has released a report entitled “Understanding California’s Property Taxes,” which provides an excellent primer on the different types of commercial and residential taxation, as well as an explanation of several landmark voter-approved laws, including Proposition 13 and Proposition 8.

Even if you think you know how Property Taxes in California work, reading this report will be beneficial.  We expect this subject area to be a hot topic of conversation in the next Legislative Session…

The LAO has even produced a video version of the report.  Click here for the video version; Click here for the full report.

 

STATE LAWMAKER TO PROPOSE CHANGES TO PROPOSITION 13

As if on cue…Yesterday a state lawmaker announced he will pursue an effort to alter Proposition 13 to make it easier to pass local taxes for schools. The L.A. Times reports that Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said he will introduce a constitutional amendment that would allow local parcel taxes for schools to pass with 55% of the vote, instead of the two-thirds currently required.

Click here to read the full story.

We expect this to be the first of many proposals to make it easier to raise property taxes.

 

November 16, 2012

WEEKLY ON HIATUS UNTIL NEW YEAR

With the election over and the Legislature reorganizing itself for the new session, trees will enter their dormant phase and so too will the Weekly eUpdate.  This is your final newsletter for the year as it will be put on hiatus until the Legislature gets going again in January 2013.

But don’t worry – your staff in Sacramento will still be working regulatory issues, preparing for the upcoming legislative session, and working on budget issues.  We will still conduct leadership and legislative committee calls and if anything major happens impacting our industry we will send a special alert.

 

CALCHAMBER SUES TO STOP CA CAP-AND-TRADE

The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) filed a lawsuit this week seeking to invalidate California’s “cap and trade” auction, arguing that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) exceeded the authority granted to it under AB 32, which prohibits them from raising money beyond what is needed to cover administrative costs.

The state expects to raise between $500 million and $1 billion through the sale of carbon allowances over the next fiscal year, largely through the sale of permits to cover 2015 emissions.  However, many business groups have been pleading with ARB to adjust the regulation as it is seen as an “unconstitutional tax” as opposed to the authorized “fee” meant to run the program.  CalChamber’s lawsuit was filed on the day that ARB moved forward and adopted the controversial program.

Cap-and-trade is touted by some as a way to reduce greenhouse gases while providing revenue for environmental justice; it is criticized by others as a costly mandate on businesses that will unnecessarily increase the cost of electricity and make operating in this state more difficult.

Here is an excerpt from the CalChamber press release: “filed in Sacramento Superior Court, [the complaint] asserts that AB 32 does not authorize CARB to impose fees other than those needed to cover ordinary administrative costs of implementing a state emissions regulatory program.” According to the complaint, “What was not authorized by AB 32 is the Board’s decision to withhold for itself a percentage of the annual statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowances and to auction them off to the highest bidders, thus raising from taxpayers up to $70 billion or more of revenue for the state to use.”

Click here to read more.

 

WILL 2013 BE THE YEAR OF REAL CEQA REFORM?

The Governor, Senate President and many others have publicly proclaimed that they’d like to see CEQA reform in 2013. CBPA is part of a broad coalition of business groups, schools, local governments, and others pushing comprehensive modernization. Of course, “reform” is always in the eye of the beholder, and it remains to be seen if legislators will pursue meaningful reform or simply tinker around the edges. CBPA and our coalition are pushing to ensure that we maintain CEQA’s original intent of environmental protection, while limiting abuses of the law that unnecessarily hinder economic growth and job creation. Special thanks to State Senator Michael J. Rubio (D-Bakersfield) for his leadership on this issue.

Here are the “Policy Principles for CEQA Modernization” we are pursuing:

* Integrate Environmental and Planning Laws

* Eliminate Duplication

* Focus CEQA Litigation on Compliance with Environmental and Planning Laws

* Enhance Public Disclosure and Accountability

It is time to modernize CEQA to conform with California’s comprehensive environmental laws and regulations. Thoughtful CEQA reforms can preserve the law’s original intent – environmental protection – while preventing special interest CEQA abuses that jeopardize community renewal, job-creation and the environment.

We look forward to working with the Governor, the new Legislature, and our broad coalition of partners to move reform forward.

 

“WHAT SHOULD THE SUPERMAJORITY AGENDA LOOK LIKE?”

As we reported last week, the Democratic Party now has Legislative Supermajorities in both the State Senate and State Assembly.  The most frequent question we have received over the past week is, “what does this mean in terms of policy?”  The truth is, no one really knows.  Politics in California is anything but predictable.

Guessing what is going to happen has become a favorite parlor game, and one way of getting a peek into the future is watching the influential political blogs.

Here is a suggested agenda from a piece published this week at calitics.com that might signal some of the broad stroke policy initiatives that will be pushed by activists:

Make it even easier to vote. Same day registration is a good place to start.

Bring even more revenue to the schools. Whatever the means, California’s schools still need help.

Make sure every Californian gets good health care. Vermont is moving toward a single-payer system. California should join them.

Do something to create jobs. A comprehensive job creation strategy, likely involving direct government hiring, should be high on the agenda.

Fix the Constitution.  Fixing Prop 13 would be a good start – a split roll, perhaps?

To read the whole article, click here.

 

SPLIT ROLL PROPERTY TAX

As you can see, a “split roll” property tax is high on the agenda of the author of the above suggested legislative priorities list.  But he is not alone.  Since the election, the chorus of voices that advocate removing Proposition 13 protections from non-residential real estate has grown louder and bolder, as summarized in this SF Examiner piece.

 

In the midst of all the political discussion and coverage, as leaders at the Californians Against Higher Property Taxes, we continue to educate policymakers using facts, figures, and studies to show that changing the current property tax system in order to raise revenue from commercial properties would have a “devastating impact of increased property taxes on jobs and small businesses.” Increasing property taxes on businesses by $6 billion would result in $71.8 billion in reduced economic output and 396,345 fewer jobs over the first five years of the tax increase, and would continue to get worse. Click here to read a recent Pepperdine study that outlines these dire economic impacts of a split roll.

The next two years are going to be crucial in protecting Proposition 13 and keeping your property taxes in check.  We implore you to get involved, be active, and support the activities of groups that are watching your interests on a day-to-day basis in Sacramento.

 

GOVERNOR PRIORITIES

Last week we reported that Governor Brown held a press conference and verbally outlined his top-five priorities for next session. They are as follows:

* Calibrate our regulations to balance competing interests

* Water

* High-speed rail

* Education – evaluation, standards, and testing

* State budget – new budget coming in January

It will be an interesting year watching how these priorities mesh with the mountain of legislation that is sure to pile-up on his desk requiring a signature or veto.  Hold on!

 

BOMA SECURES KEY VICTORIES AT ICC BUILDING CODE HEARINGS

From our friends at BOMA International:  “The International Code Council (ICC) recently held final round public hearings for the 2015 editions of five of its model codes in Portland, Oregon. BOMA International staff attended the hearings. Among key code decisions was the defeat of a BOMA–opposed proposal that would have required firefighter breathing air replenishment systems in all new high-rise buildings and in all existing high–rise buildings without sprinklers. As an alternative, fire service representatives and others agreed to work with BOMA and other interested parties to develop related provisions for a code appendix, which will allow local jurisdictions to elect whether or not to require these systems. BOMA also helped secure industry victories pertaining to storm shelters, elevators, sprinkler systems and more.  Click here to read more about the approvals and defeats at the ICC Code Hearings.”

 

STATE ARCHITECT ISSUES DRAFT REWRITE OF ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS

FINAL NOTICE:  The Division of the State Architect (DSA) has released to the public draft building standards for disabled accessibility in commercial and government buildings.  As reported earlier, DSA has decided to rewrite California’s Disabled Accessibility Standards, using the federal Department of Justice regulations as the basis for our state regulations.

DSA’s rewrite includes amendments to DOJ’s regulations where California’s current standards are more stringent.  Over the past 8 months, we have participated in DSA stakeholder meetings throughout the state and provided comments.  On September 25-27, the Building Standards Commission (BSC) conducted a 3-day set of hearings to review the initial proposal.  The draft regulations released on Friday, October 26 incorporate the changes suggested by BSC’s Advisory Committee.  The public has until December 10th to review and provide comments on this regulatory proposal.  Click here to read and comment.

The BSC is expected to adopt this regulatory package at a 2-day hearing on January 9th and 10th with the changes taking effect statewide on January 1, 2014.

This regulatory effort complements the legislative measure we sponsored, SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton) signed into law in September.  Among other things, that measure prohibits “demand for money” letters by attorneys alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In addition, SB 1186 requires plaintiffs to cite the specific provisions in code which they contend were violated and they must also describe how the violation infringed on their ability to use the building or service.

 

 

November 8, 2012

BOMA CALIFORNIA WELCOMES 2013 LEADERSHIP

BOMA is all about advocacy for the commercial real estate industry, whether before a board of supervisors, the California State Legislature, state agencies like the State Fire Marshal’s office or the Public Utilities Commission, or the U.S. Congress.

At its Annual Board Meeting in Orange County, BOMA California approved the following officers to serve as leadership in 2013:

President: Brian Harnetiaux, Transwestern (BOMA Orange County)

VP: Deanna Drake-Coplan, CB Richard Ellis (BOMA Oakland/East Bay)

Treasurer: Desiree Lavin Glover, Tiarna Real Estate Services (BOMA Inland Empire)

Secretary: Dave Mastro, The Buzz Oates Group of Companies (BOMA Sacramento)

Executive Committee:  Cybele Thomson, Cushman Wakefield (BOMA Greater Los Angeles)

Executive Committee: Ray Magnussen, Paragon Services (BOMA San Diego)

Executive Committee: Sandra Boyle, Cushman Wakefield (BOMA San Francisco)

Executive Committee:  Sheryn Cockett, Equity Office, BOMA Silicon Valley

Current President Sandra Boyle will remain President through the remainder of 2013.  Thank you to everyone who serves the industry through volunteering time, expertise, and funding support, at every level of BOMA.  Thank you to those companies who share these valuable resources and assure they have the time to engage.

BOMA California is a federation of all eight metropolitan BOMA local associations and serves as the collective membership’s legislative and regulatory advocate.

The mission of BOMA California is to preserve and promote the interests of California commercial real estate professionals through legislative and regulatory advocacy.

 

ELECTION OVER – CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!

The 2012 Elections have come and gone and we are now preparing for the 2013 Legislative Session.  However, before we look forward, we’d like to take a moment and congratulate all the winners from Tuesday.

Of special note, congratulations to Governor Brown who won his hard fought battle to pass Proposition 30 “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education.”  That measure passed with 54% of the electorate supporting it.  We hope this measure, as advertised, will help California stabilize its budget.

Additionally, congratulations go to leading Democrats in both the Assembly and Senate, as they have been able to secure a two-thirds majority in both Houses.  This is the first time in over 100 years that any party has wielded such power.  This supermajority status will allow tax increases, placing constitutional amendments on the ballot, and gubernatorial veto overrides, all without needing any Republican votes.

President Barack Obama was also reelected with more than 59% of the state’s vote.

Congratulations to all the winners from Tuesday Democrat and Republican alike.  On behalf of the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry, we look forward to a productive year ahead.

With over 40 new members of the Legislature, it is extremely important for our industry to step up efforts to educate – new and returning – policymakers about the important and valuable role of real estate to our economy.  Your involvement in the Sacramento legislative process is now more important than ever.

 

GOVERNOR PRIORITIES

Two days after the election, Governor Brown held a press conference to discuss the results. When asked by reporters, he initially said no tax increases without a vote of the people, but would not commit to a veto of any tax increases sent to him by the Legislature.  The Governor also said tax reform should be considered.

Governor Brown said the following are his five priorities for next session:

1. Calibrate our regulations to balance competing interests

2. Water

3. High-speed rail

4. Education – evaluation, standards, and testing

5. State budget – new budget coming in January

It was later noted by an observer that with the make-up of the supermajorities in the Legislature that Governor Brown is now the most conservative hurdle in the legislative process.

FULL UPDATE OF ALL MEASURES

Click here for results on all ballot measures.

Click here for results on all candidate races.

 

SOLAR INCENTIVE FUND

Funding for residential solar incentives cleared an important hurdle Wednesday when the California Energy Commission approved a 3-year investment plan that includes another $50 million in funding for the New Solar Home Partnership program (NSHP).   As required by a 2012 budget trailer bill (SB 1018), the CEC is required to develop an investment plan for the funds collected via the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC).

 

CEQA REFORM?

Before the sweeping change brought about by this week’s election, the Governor and California Legislative Leaders indicated they were planning on tackling reform to the the state’s environmental laws with an eye toward speeding up proposed development projects.  The Governor has stated that he expects lawmakers to vote next year on changes to the California Environmental Quality Act, the 1970 law that requires the state and local governments to weigh environmental consequences when considering approval of public and private projects.  Is that still on the agenda now that state voters have given Democrats overwhelming majorities in both houses?  We hope.  Click here to read an interesting, pre-election, analysis:

 

STATE ARCHITECT ISSUES DRAFT REWRITE OF ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS

The Division of the State Architect (DSA) has released to the public draft building standards for disabled accessibility in commercial and government buildings.  As reported earlier, DSA has decided to rewrite California’s Disabled Accessibility Standards, using the federal Department of Justice regulations as the basis for our state regulations.

DSA’s rewrite includes amendments to DOJ’s regulations where California’s current standards are more stringent.  Over the past 8 months, we have participated in DSA stakeholder meetings throughout the state and provided comments.  On September 25-27, the Building Standards Commission (BSC) conducted a 3-day set of hearings to review the initial proposal.  The draft regulations released on Friday (10/26) incorporate the changes suggested by BSC’s Advisory Committee.  The public has until December 10th to review and provide comments on this regulatory proposal.  Click here to read and comment.

The BSC is expected to adopt this regulatory package at a 2-day hearing on January 9th and 10th with the changes taking effect statewide on January 1, 2014.

This regulatory effort complements the legislative measure we sponsored, SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton) signed into law in September.  Among other things, that measure prohibits “demand for money” letters by attorneys alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In addition, SB 1186 requires plaintiffs to cite the specific provisions in code for which they contend were violated and they must also describe how the violation infringed on their ability to use the building or service.

 

October 26, 2012

 

STATE ARCHITECT ISSUES DRAFT REWRITE OF ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS

The Division of the State Architect (DSA) has released to the public draft building standards for disabled accessibility in commercial and government buildings.  As reported earlier, DSA has decided to rewrite California’s Disabled Accessibility Standards, using the federal Department of Justice regulations as the basis for our state regulations.

DSA’s rewrite includes amendments to DOJ’s regulations where California’s current standards are more stringent.  Over the past 8 months, we have participated in DSA stakeholder meetings throughout the state and provided comments.  On September 25-27, the Building Standards Commission (BSC) conducted a 3-day set of hearings to review the initial proposal.  The draft regulations released on Friday (10/26) incorporate the changes suggested by BSC’s Advisory Committee.  The public has until December 10th to review and provide comments on this regulatory proposal.  Click here to read and comment.

The BSC is expected to adopt this regulatory package at a 2-day hearing on January 9th and 10th with the changes taking effect statewide on January 1, 2014.

This regulatory effort complements the legislative measure we sponsored, SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton) signed into law in September.  Among other things, that measure prohibits “demand for money” letters by attorneys alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In addition, SB 1186 requires plaintiffs to cite the specific provisions in code, which they contend were violated and they must also describe how the violation infringed on their ability to use the building or service.

 

INDUSTRY AWARDS DINNER

Next week the 2012 Industry Awards Dinner will be held in Newport Beach.  This event, held every two years, is a chance for the commercial real estate industry to take a break and honor people that have made a difference in our business.  This year we take time to honor the following individuals and companies:

Ernest W. Hahn Memorial Award

Greg McWilliams with Newhall Land is being awarded for his longtime leadership and service to the commercial real estate industry.

John Caldecott Memorial Award

Walgreens is the recipient of this award for their community charitable actions.

Champion of the Industry Awards

Brad Cox with Trammell Crow Company

Michael Epsteen with Epsteen & Associates

Ray Magnussen with Paragon Services

Attending this very special event will signal your strong support for these companies, the individual honorees, and our industry as a whole.

As expected we are almost sold out.  However, a few seats still remain.  Contact Melissa Stevens mstevens@cbpa.com if you are interested in attending.  Find out more for the event here.  See you on Thursday!

 

ELECTION WEEKS TO GO – PROPOSITIONS

With just three weeks to go until the election, many people are spending a lot of time thoughtfully going over their ballots and making decisions on Propositions.  The CalChamber has put out its recommendations and as a proud member of that organization, we thought we would share:

Proposition 30:  Temporary Taxes to Fund Education.  Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding.  — No Position

Proposition 31:  State Budget, State and Local Government.  — Support
Proposition 32: Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction.  Contributions to Candidates — No Position
Proposition 33:  Auto Insurance Companies.  Prices Based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage.  — No Position
Proposition 34:  Death Penalty.  — No Position
Proposition 35:  Human Trafficking.  Penalties — No Position
Proposition 36:  Three Strikes Law.  Repeat Felony Offenders.  Penalties.  — No Position
Proposition 37:  Genetically Engineered Foods.  Labeling — Oppose
Proposition 38:  Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs — Oppose
Proposition 39:  Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses.  Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding.  — Oppose
Proposition 40:  Redistricting.  State Senate Districts. (Referendum) — Support

Click here for the CalChamber’s full rundown of the Propositions.

 

COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL TASK FORCE ON WATER USE

The State’s Natural Resource Agency has released a draft of its “Commercial, Institutional and Industrial Task Force Best Management Practices Report to the Legislature.”  A stakeholder group was tasked to develop alternative best management practices for the commercial, industrial, & institutional (CII) water sector.  The group also assessed the potential statewide water use efficiency improvements in this sector that would result from implementation of alternative Best Management Practices.  If your company is a heavy water user or you have tenants that are, there are several items of interest in this 400+ page report.

 

October 12, 2012

 

GOVERNOR BROWN “THINKING BIG” ABOUT ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Today, several leaders from CBPA representing the commercial real estate industry are honored to participate in a meeting with the Governor’s office to think strategically about how to increase and expand opportunities for energy efficiency in new construction and existing building.  Entitled the “Big Think” forum and hosted by the Governor and the CPUC, the discussion is focusing on how to accelerate the scale for energy efficiency investment and how to capture benefits for energy, greenhouse gas reduction, create jobs, and improve economic development.

This brainstorming session amongst leaders and “big thinkers” will hopefully be the first of many such sessions.  Many in our industry are already testing and implementing several of the ideas that are being proposed for regulation and we can help advise the state on the most efficacious implementation.  We thank the Governor for including us in this discussion and look forward to working with the myriad agencies tasked with devising and implementing a plan.

 

REDEVELOPMENT UPDATE

For six decades California cities have used redevelopment agencies to address blight and fund residential projects. Last year, the Legislature and Governor passed laws to shutter the 400 agencies implementing the program.

In the wake of that policy decision several bills will be introduced in the Legislature to clarify issues and create new policy paths to help local governments do some of the activities that redevelopment agencies previously did.

Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed the four main bills on this topic, which include:  SB 1156 (Steinberg; D-Sacramento); AB 2144  (Perez; D-Los Angeles); SB 214 (Wolk; D-Davis); AB 2551 (Hueso; D-San Diego).

However, the gist of the Governor’s message in all four vetoes is that he does not want to distract local agencies from “winding down” redevelopment-related activities by providing new programs for them to focus on.

 

“POST” REDEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS

In order to help local agencies and businesses move forward in the absence of redevelopment, the California Redevelopment Association and the California Association for Local Economic Development are hosting a series of workshops, entitled “What is next for cities and counties that want continue their efforts to build better communities.” Event topics include:

* What Tools Successor Agencies Have Available Under Current Law

* Property and Cash Management: How to Treat them

* Local Economic Development Programs

* Legislation Update

* Due Diligence Review

* Meet and Confer Process

* Post-Redevelopment: Where Do We Go From Here?

The next workshops are October 16 in Pleasanton and October 18 in Citrus Heights.  Click here for more information.

 

ELEVATOR “CATEGORIES OF WORK” CIRCULAR LETTER WITHDRAWN

We are pleased to report that the CA Division of Occupational Safety and Health has given notice that it has formally withdrawn Circular Letter 11-01 in its entirety, effective immediately.

According to the Division, the Circular Letter was initially published because they had received inquiries regarding whether certain work on conveyances was covered by state law.  After receiving more information from the elevator industry they have decided that clarifications are more appropriately addressed through a formal rulemaking process.  We agree and applaud the Division for this decision and thank our colleagues in the elevator industry for their diligence.

There will be future efforts by the division regarding proper rule-making so this issue is likely to be revisited by year end.

CBPA INDUSTRY AWARDS AND 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

The California Business Properties Association Industry Awards Dinner will be held on November 1, 2012 at The Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.   The CBPA Industry Awards Dinner is a chance to recognize the unwavering leadership of individuals and companies dedicated to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry.  This is a special event as it marks CBPA’s 40 years of service to the industry.

This year we will be awarding our Champion of the Industry Awards to Brad Cox with Trammell Crow Company; Michael Epsteen with Epsteen & Associates; and Ray Magnussen with Paragon Services.  In addition to the Champions of the Industry award recipients, CBPA is also recognizing two companies for their dedication and commitment to community service and the commercial real estate industry. Walgreens is the recipient of the John Caldecott Memorial Award for their community charitable actions and Greg McWilliams with Newhall Land is being awarded the Ernest W. Hahn Memorial Award for his service to the commercial real estate industry.

We hope you will join us on November 1.  Click here to register or to find out about sponsorship opportunities.

 

October 5, 2012

 

**ACTION** ENERGY COMMISSION WORKSHOP ON ENERGY SAVINGS IN BUILDINGS (AB 758 Regs)

This Monday and Tuesday, October 8 & 9, in Sacramento the California Energy Commission is holding a workshop to solicit input on the structure and direction of the future comprehensive energy efficiency programs for residential and nonresidential existing buildings.  Better known as the “Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings,” or more simply the “AB 758 Regs,” this activity is being held pursuant to Assembly Bill 758 (Skinner, Chapter 470, Statutes 2009).

Industry input is imperative in this process as recommendations regarding the requirements of these regulations intended to develop a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy savings in the state’s existing buildings will also be discussed.  Achieving these goals will potentially require enormous efficiency improvements in both building construction (envelope) and in the ever increasing number of electric devices they contain (plug-load).

Materials for review and more information about this effort can be found here.

Your Sacramento representatives will be present at this meeting; however, it is very important that as experts and practitioners you provide us with overall and technical comments on these proposed rules.  If our industry does not provide comments, these mandatory rules will potentially be written by individuals with no practical experience managing commercial properties.

Please pass along any comments you have to be included in the industry response to Matthew Hargrove participate directly.

 

PROPERTY OWNERS FACE A NEW SURTAX

 Although we have reported about this surtax several times in the past, as it gets closer to impacted your companies, we want to make sure you are aware and prepared.  Passed in 2010 to help fund the health-care overhaul, this 3.8% surtax kicks in next year on many forms of investment income—including some interest, dividends, rents and capital gains.  Click here to read a Wall Street Journal article, and make sure you consult your tax attorneys.

JOB KILLER BILLS UPDATE

The CalChamber, on behalf of all of us in the business community leads on many issues in Sacramento. One way they do that is by compiling a list of the “worst of the worst” bills in order to galvanize opposition to these measures which will hurt the economy.  Under Governor Brown last year, 30 bills were tagged as job killers – the Legislature sent five to the Governor and he vetoed all but one.  This year, 32 bills were tagged as job killers – the Legislature sent six to the Governor, and two were vetoed.  All in all, a very good record!  We would like to thank the CalChamber for continue to provide leadership on these tough issues.  Click here for a list of all the 2012 Job Killer Bills.

 

TWO REAL ESTATE LEADERS HONORED

Two longtime leaders at the California Business Properties Association are being honored for the dedication and service to the industry and their achievements as individuals.

Fran Inman heads up government relations and community affairs for Majestic Reality Co, “one of the nation’s largest privately-held, family-owned real estate development companies. Their holdings include about 70 million square feet of commercial property. She is being hailed as a “Rock Star” for her work helping to improve California’s transportation infrastructure. Click here to read more.

Lisa Cowell Shams, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs for Westfield, is a longtime leader at CBPA, is being honored as a “Woman of Achievement” by the Century City Chamber of Commerce.  Lisa’s years of experience on Capitol Hill have been invaluable to our industry as we work on real estate issues in Sacramento.  She serves on a number of volunteer boards and is an active advisor with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on their annual Thanks and Giving Campaign.  Click here for more information on her event.

We are proud of our entire membership, but want to highlight these two leaders and congratulate them on their recognition!

 

CBPA INDUSTRY AWARDS AND 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

The California Business Properties Association Industry Awards Dinner will be held on November 1, 2012 at The Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.   The CBPA Industry Awards Dinner is a chance to recognize the unwavering leadership of individuals and companies dedicated to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry.  This is a special event as it marks CBPA’s 40 years of service to the industry.

This year we will be awarding our Champion of the Industry Awards to Brad Cox with Trammell Crow Company; Michael Epsteen with Epsteen & Associates; and Ray Magnussen with Paragon Services.  In addition to the Champions of the Industry award recipients, CBPA is also recognizing two companies for their dedication and commitment to community service and the commercial real estate industry. Walgreens is the recipient of the John Caldecott Memorial Award for their community charitable actions and Greg McWilliams with Newhall Land is being awarded the Ernest W. Hahn Memorial Award for his service to the commercial real estate industry.

We hope you will join us on November 1.  Click here to register or to find out about sponsorship opportunities.

 

September 28, 2012

SIGN/VETO DEADLINE

The Legislature has gone home for the year and they sent a whole heap of bills over to the Governor — as of today 333 bills are still awaiting his signature or veto, down from 677 two weeks ago.  The Constitutional Deadline for bills to be dealt with is this Sunday, September 30.

STATE COMMISSION REVIEWS PROPOSED REWRITE OF ACCESSIBILITY CODE

The Building Standards Commission’s Advisory Committee has just concluded a 3-day marathon session wherein proposed changes to California’s Disabled Accessibility standards were reviewed.  This included the Division of the State Architect’s 350+ page rewrite of the accessibility provisions for all commercial and state-owned buildings.

As reported earlier this year, DSA has decided to use the federal Department of Justice accessibility provisions as the basis for California’s updated code with appropriate amendments where California’s code was previously more stringent.  We anticipate 45-Day Language being issued by DSA within the next 3 weeks with adoption by the BSC planned for their January 2013 Business Meeting.

The intent of this major “regulatory overhaul” is to significantly reduce the number of lawsuits filed over the minute differences between the state and federal regulations.  In addition, this effort will help facilitate DOJ certification of our state regulations, an administrative action that will help businesses with “burden of proof” issues when litigation is filed in the future.

All of this is complementary to the recent signing of our SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton), the legislation that reforms ADA in California and establishes a prohibition of “demand for money” letters by attorneys alleging violations of state and federal access standards (see story below).

 

**ACTION** ENERGY COMMISSION WORKSHOP ON ENERGY SAVINGS IN BUILDINGS (AB 758 Regs)

 

On Monday and Tuesday, October 8 & 9, in Sacramento the California Energy Commission is holding a workshop to solicit input on the structure and direction of the future comprehensive energy efficiency programs for residential and nonresidential existing buildings.  Better known as the “Energy Efficiency Program for Existing Buildings,” or more simply the “AB 758 Regs,” this activity is being held pursuant to Assembly Bill 758 (Skinner, Chapter 470, Statutes 2009).

Industry input is imperative in this process as recommendations regarding the requirements of these regulations intended to develop a comprehensive program to achieve greater energy savings in the state’s existing buildings will also be discussed.  Achieving these goals will potentially require enormous efficiency improvements in both building construction (envelope) and in the ever increasing number of electric devices they contain (plug-load).

Materials for review and more information about this effort can be found at the following website.

Your Sacramento representatives will be present at this meeting; however, it is very important that as experts and practitioners you provide us with overall and technical comments on these proposed rules.  If our industry does not provide comments, these mandatory rules will potentially be written by individuals with no practical experience managing commercial properties.

To participate directly, please pass along any comments you have to be included in the industry response to Matthew Hargrove.

 

COST OF COMPLIANCE BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

Governor Brown has signed an industry sponsored measure, AB 1612 (Lara; D – South Gate), which requires government agencies to provide an estimated cost and benefit of compliance when proposing new residential building standards is sitting on the Governor’s desk.

Although the bill currently applies only to residential projects, we are very supportive of the measure, as it will force state regulators to start considering the impact of their decisions not just on the economy as a whole but on individual homeowners and businesses.

Hailed by the CalChamber as a “Job Creator” we thank the Governor and Legislature for this practical reform.

 

ADA REFORM SIGNED BY GOVERNOR!

Although we reported this last week, we have had so many calls and emails about this significant reform, that we thought we should send it out one more time.  If you own or manage commercial real estate, this has huge, positive ramifications for your business:

We are extremely pleased to announce that one of those bills that was signed this week by Governor Brown is our ADA reform measure, SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton) which will curb lawsuit abuse regarding the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) while promoting increased compliance with disabled accessibility building codes.

This is the culmination of a multi-year, bipartisan effort, that included leadership from state level elected officials Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), with federal support coming from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

This bill is being hailed as the most comprehensive and significant reform to California’s ADA Law. It passed the Legislature by a two-thirds vote in the wee hours of Friday night.  Currently, California has 40 percent of the nation’s ADA lawsuits but only 12 percent of the country’s disabled population.

Among other things, this measure: prohibits pre-litigation “demands for money” by attorneys; puts into place new provisions to prevent “stacking” of multiple claims to increase statutory damages; reduces statutory damages and provides litigation protections for defendants who correct violations; and establishes priorities for the California Commission on Disabled Accessibility that promote and facilitate disability access compliance. Here are some more specifics on the main provisions of the bill:

  • If a businesses is in a location that was completed after Jan. 1, 2008 or any business in California that has received a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection, that business will have 60 days to fix that violation and their statutory damages may be reduced from $4,000 to $1,000 – a 75 percent reduction.
  • Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees that have not had a CASp inspection will have 30 days to fix a violation and can see their statutory damages reduced from $4,000 to $2,000 – a 50 percent reduction
  • SB 1186 ends “demand for money” letters from attorneys. Letters can still be sent to a business alerting them of a potential violation or infraction, but that letter can’t include a “demand for money”. Attorneys sending those letters will be required to also send a copy of the letter to the California State Bar, who will examine the letter to make sure it meets the requirements of the law.
  • Attorneys will also be required to send a copy of letters sent to businesses to the California Commission on Disabilities (CCDA). They will be required to compile a “Top 10” list of violations to be posted on their website by July 1, 2013 and also a list of those attorneys and law firms who are filing the bulk of the lawsuits.
  • SB 1186 provides an avenue for local cities and counties to expand the CASp program in their communities, to help bring local businesses into ADA compliance and develop tools to help educate the business community in expanding ADA access.

This bill could not have passed were it not for efforts from many of you and partners that we have worked with over the past year in Sacramento.  The CalChamber and CBIA were right there with us helping with the heavy lifting on this bill, as well as several others.

We want to thank Governor Brown for signing SB 1186, and everyone who helped get it to his Desk!

Click here for a news story about the bill.

 

CBPA INDUSTRY AWARDS AND 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

The California Business Properties Association Industry Awards Dinner will be held on November 1, 2012 at The Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.   The CBPA Industry Awards Dinner is a chance to recognize the unwavering leadership of individuals and companies dedicated to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry.  This is a special event as it marks CBPA’s 40 years of service to the industry.

This year we will be awarding our Champion of the Industry Awards to Brad Cox with Trammell Crow Company; Michael Epsteen with Epsteen & Associates; and Ray Magnussen with Paragon Services.  In addition to the Champions of the Industry award recipients, CBPA is also recognizing two companies for their dedication and commitment to community service and the commercial real estate industry. Walgreens is the recipient of the John Caldecott Memorial Award for their community charitable actions and Greg McWilliams with Newhall Land is being awarded the Ernest W. Hahn Memorial Award for his service to the commercial real estate industry.

We hope you will join us on November 1.  Click here to register or to find out about sponsorship opportunities.

 

September 14, 2012

SIGN/VETO DEADLINE

The Legislature has gone home for the year and they sent a whole heap of bills over to the Governor — as of today 677 bills are still awaiting his signature or veto!  The Constitutional Deadline for bills to be deal with is September 30 and we are weighing in on a number of bills.

 

FUN WITH VETO MESSAGES

Last year, reading Governor Brown’s veto messages became a favorite pastime of political junkies throughout the state, because many of them contained quips, jabs, philosophy, and sometimes just plain obvious observations that were, in the kabuki world of the Capitol, fun and interesting.  Although nothing as creative or abrasive as the famous Schwarzenegger/Ammiano acrostic.

The first such interesting message came out this week.  While vetoing a Republican assemblymember’s bill which would have required some language to be put on a state agencies’ website, the Governor noted it had already been done and quipped, “So in keeping with the author’s oft-stated mantra that government should not be wasteful or do unnecessary things, I am returning Assembly Bill 1892 without my signature.”  Sometimes it’s just the little things that keep life interesting…  click here to see the veto message.

 

SIGNIFICANT ADA REFORM ON GOV’S DESK

Although we reported about this last week, we are including this story again because of the intense interest and huge impact this bill will have on our industry.  This is an historic reform and we want to make sure that we shout about it from (our own) rooftops!

A bill we sponsored is being hailed as the most comprehensive and significant reform to California’s ADA Law. It passed the Legislature by a two-thirds vote in the wee hours of Friday night.  Currently, California has 40 percent of the nation’s ADA lawsuits but only 12 percent of the country’s disabled population.

SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton) will curb lawsuit abuse regarding the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) while promoting increased compliance with disabled accessibility building codes throughout the state. This is a “win-win” situation for the State of California.

Among other things, this measure: prohibits prelitigation “demands for money” by attorneys; puts into place new provisions to prevent “stacking” of multiple claims to increase statutory damages; reduces statutory damages and provides litigation protections for defendants who correct violations; and establishes priorities for the California Commission on Disabled Accessibility that promote and facilitate disability access compliance.

Please drop Governor Brown a note and let him know how this bill will positiviely impact your business – while improving access – and urge him to sign the bill.

 

CEQA REFORM EFFORTS GET BOOST

A few weeks ago we had to report the sad news that our sponsored bill to reform CEQA was quashed by legislative leadership just a few short hours after being unveiled.  The press conference to announce the bill was stopped, but was followed with promises to “re-visit” the issue soon.  Typically, this type of language is dismissed because it is usually a way to shelve an idea while placating the proponents.

However, we are happy and cautiously optimistic to report that Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) is moving forward on that promise.  He has announced a meeting on CEQA in December and announced the appointment of our bill’s author, Senator

Michael Rubio (D-East-Bakersfield), as the new chair of the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality.

“For more than four decades, CEQA has protected California communities and preserved our wildlife habitat, our farmlands and the natural treasures of this state,” Steinberg said in a statement. “But like any well-intentioned law in existence for more than 40 years, changes are needed to eliminate abuses. We must ensure CEQA is used to protect our environment through a more efficient and timely process.”

We agree with you Mr. Steinberg, praise you for keeping your word, and look forward to being a productive and positive force in helping you to reform this important law.

 

GOVERNOR SIGNS LUMBER TAX

A controversial bill creating a new tax on wood products was signed into law this week.  AB 1492 (Budget Committee) imposes a 1 percent tax on lumber products starting in January 2013.  However, the bill also restricts liability that some landowners pay for causing wildfires and allows harvest plans to remain effective for longer periods.

“California’s laws have saddled our timber industry with costly burdens while giving out-of-state competitors a free ride–but that stops today,” Brown said in a statement. “This legislation enacts serious bipartisan reform to even the playing field to protect California’s timber-industry jobs.”

The California Forestry Association argued that small timber companies were at risk of going under because they faced high regulatory costs and could not get sufficient insurance in light of record-high wildfire lawsuit awards.

Click here to read the bill.

GOVERNOR SIGNS LANDLORD/TENANT BILLS

 The Governor has signed two bills we supported that address issues relating to tenant improvements and foreclosures on residential properties:

AB 1925 (Ma; D-San Francisco) establishes a “reasonable rate” which a landlord must pay a tenant to temporarily relocate in order to make repairs or capital improvements to the unit. Although the bill is limited to the City and County of San Francisco, it establishes a reasonable daily rate of $275 for tenants who must temporarily vacate their units (defined as 20 days or less).

AB 2273 (Wieckowski; D-Fremont) requires timely recordation of foreclosure sales.  Specifically, it provides full disclosure and transparency in real estate transactions by requiring every foreclosure sale to be recorded within 30 days of the sale, or 15 days if the HOA recorded a Request for Notification.

 

COST OF COMPLIANCE BILL HEADS TO GOVERNOR’S DESK

An industry sponsored measure AB 1612 (Lara; D – South Gate) that would require government agencies to provide an estimated cost and benefit of compliance when proposing new residential building standards is sitting on the Governor’s desk.  Although the bill currently applies only to residential projects, we are very supportive of the measure, as it will force state regulators to start considering the impact of their decisions not just on the economy as a whole but on individual homeowners and businesses.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCREENING TOOL

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is seeking comment on a draft report for public review entitled, “California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen).” Members of our industry have attended workshops and are providing feedback about concerns that this policy could unintentionally lead to “redlining” whole cities and further exacerbating economic and infrastructure problems.

Due to the outpouring of concern, the agency has extended the public comment period to October 16, 2012.  We are providing comments on behalf of our industry, however we hope that members of our industry can also participate in workshops and provide comments in order to assure that OEHHA understands the negative impact this policy could have on areas that are already at an economic disadvantage by discouraging, and in some cases preventing, investment and development.  Click here for all the information.

 

CBPA INDUSTRY AWARDS AND 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

The California Business Properties Association Industry Awards Dinner will be held on November 1, 2012 at The Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.   The CBPA Industry Awards Dinner is a chance to recognize the unwavering leadership of individuals and companies dedicated to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry.  This is a special event as it marks CBPA’s 40 years of service to the industry.

This year we will be awarding our Champion of the Industry Awards to Brad Cox with Trammell Crow Company; Michael Epsteen with Epsteen & Associates; and Ray Magnussen with Paragon Services.  In addition to the Champions of the Industry award recipients, CBPA is also recognizing two companies for their dedication and commitment to community service and the commercial real estate industry. Walgreens is the recipient of the John Caldecott Memorial Award for their community charitable actions and Greg McWilliams with Newhall Land is being awarded the Ernest W. Hahn Memorial Award for his service to the commercial real estate industry.

We hope you will join us on November 1.  Click here to register or to find out about sponsorship opportunities.

 

September 7, 2012

LEGISLATIVE SESSION OVER

The 2011-2012 Legislative Session has ended.  Hundreds of bills were voted on in the final hours of marathon Floor Sessions in both houses and are now on the Governor’s Desk for consideration.

Major issues, including property taxes vote threshold, Workers Compensation reform, Pension Reform, Private Pensions, major energy policy, and many others, passed and are awaiting final action.  Below are just some of the highlights.

SIGNIFICANT ADA REFORM

A bill we sponsored is being hailed as the most comprehensive and significant reform to California’s ADA Law. It passed the Legislature by a two-thirds vote in the wee hours of Friday night.  Currently, California has 40 percent of the nation’s ADA lawsuits but only 12 percent of the country’s disabled population.

SB 1186 (Steinberg/Dutton) will curb lawsuit abuse regarding the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) while promoting increased compliance with disabled accessibility building codes throughout the state. This is a “win-win” situation for the State of California.

Among other things, this measure: prohibits prelitigation “demands for money” by attorneys; puts into place new provisions to prevent “stacking” of multiple claims to increase statutory damages; reduces statutory damages and provides litigation protections for defendants who correct violations; and establishes priorities for the California Commission on Disabled Accessibility that promote and facilitate disability access compliance.

Please drop Governor Brown a note and let him know how this bill will positiviely impact your business – while improving access – and urge him to sign the bill.

“JOB KILLERS” MOVE TO GOVERNOR

All but just a few of the bills tagged by the CalChamber as “Job Killers” were stopped in the Legislature.  However, three of the four measures that were sent to the Governor will have an impact on commercial real estate through increased energy costs.  These energy bills will re-direct monies you and your tenants pay for energy to fund programs not related to reducing greenhouse gasses.  We believe this measure amounts to an unauthorized tax and are urging the Governor to veto the measure, before they induce expensive lawsuits.

Click here to read more about all these bills and other Job Killer bills.

PRODUCTIVE LEGISLATIVE SESSION?

One political reporter has declared the Legislative Session a success, citing the following “accomplishments” by the Legislature:

“(1) It delivered on an overhaul of public-employee pensions.”

“(2) It revamped the $16 billion workers’ compensation insurance program to squeeze out enough waste to provide a significant boost in benefits to injured workers, reduce premiums for employers and, quite likely, avert a once-every-decade crisis of runaway costs.”

“(3) It took the first step toward creating what could become the most important program to address looming poverty among the elderly since Social Security, perhaps helping to re-establish the California Legislature’s historic role as a national leader in the development of visionary public policy.”

What do you think? Do these last minute bills make a two-year session that saw 5,000 measures introduced a success? Click here to read the full story.

OR “SUCKERED” AT THE LAST MINUTE?

…Another newspaper is slamming the Legislature for some of the very actions cited above.  A scathing editorial in the San Jose Mercury News says the last-minute process and resulting bills are deeply flawed:  “We scrambled to decipher the highly technical and complex language. The Legislature and governor’s office put out summaries that were incomplete and misleading. Outside experts had no opportunity for input.”

“It was an outrageous charade. A missing word here, an added clause there — it didn’t take much to change the meaning and effect. The stakes were high — billions of dollars.”

Click here for the full editorial.

NY TIMES WEIGHS IN ON CEQA

One of the nation’s largest and most influential newspapers has taken a look at the CEQA battles going on in California.  As you know, we have been at the center of all these reform attempts for many years.  We continue every year to work on CEQA reform because eventually it’s going to happen and we must be “at the table” on your behalf.  To wit, although many may think the acknowledgement in the NY Times is recognizing the obvious, we see it as hope that rationality may eventually prevail:

“With California still mired in what many consider its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the law, once a source of pride to many Californians and environmentalists across the country, has turned into an agonizing test in the struggle to balance environmental concerns against the need for jobs and economic growth…. In San Francisco, the city’s plan to paint bicycle lanes, one of the main goals of environmentalists, was delayed for four years by a lawsuit filed by a local resident who claimed that the lanes could cause pollution.”

Click here to read the full article.

THE HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION PLEDGES ADDITIONAL $50 MILLION TO VETERANS’ HOUSING

In other news, we thought we’d share some philanthropic activity by one of our industries’ largest retailers:  “The Home Depot Foundation announced that it has surpassed the three-year $30 million pledge it made in 2011 to veterans’ housing initiatives more than a year ahead of schedule. As part of its second annual Celebration of Service campaign, the Foundation is now committing an additional $50 million to veterans’ nonprofits over the next three years in an effort to ensure every veteran has a safe place to call home.”  Click here for more information.

CBPA INDUSTRY AWARDS AND 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

The California Business Properties Association Industry Awards Dinner will be held on November 1, 2012 at The Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.   The CBPA Industry Awards Dinner is a chance to recognize the unwavering leadership of individuals and companies dedicated to the commercial industrial retail real estate industry.  This is a special event as it marks CBPA’s 40 years of service to the industry.

This year we will be awarding our Champion of the Industry Awards to Brad Cox with Trammell Crow Company; Michael Epsteen with Epsteen & Associates; and Ray Magnussen with Paragon Services.  In addition to the Champions of the Industry award recipients, CBPA is also recognizing two companies for their dedication and commitment to community service and the commercial real estate industry. Walgreens is the recipient of the John Caldecott Memorial Award for their community charitable actions and Greg McWilliams with Newhall Land is being awarded the Ernest W. Hahn Memorial Award for his service to the commercial real estate industry.

We hope you will join us on November 1.  Click here to register or to find out about sponsorship opportunities.

March 26, 2010

SPRING BREAK!

The State Legislature takes the next week off from toiling under the Gilded Dome to rest and relax prior to the first major policy deadline of 2010. In April all bills will get a hearing, making it one of the busiest times of the year. We are currently following 450 measures that will have some impact on your business. We hope that list will be winnowed down a bit come May.

BOMA CALIFORNIA BOARD MEETS TODAY

The BOMA California Board of Directors meets today for a quarterly meeting. The board will review all legislation, regulatory issues, and take final positions on June 2010 Ballot Measures.

This meeting will finalize the direction for policy staff in Sacramento for the remainder of the legislative session. Despite the dire budget situation, legislators have continued to introduce measures impacting almost all areas of the economy, many of which could have a major impact on the commercial real estate industry. BOMA representatives have identified measures on property taxes, energy efficiency of new and existing buildings, solar and photovoltaic policy, 1031 Exchanges, and a whole host of employer issues.

BOMA California is a federation of all eight metropolitan BOMA local associations and serves as the collective membership through its mission of “preserving and promoting the interest of California commercial real estate professionals through legislative and regulatory advocacy.”

BOMA California is headquartered in Sacramento and has a full time presence at the Capitol and regulatory agencies. Each local association nominates up to five of its members to represent that association on the BOMA California Board of Directors. Therefore, every BOMA member in California has a voice in the setting of policies of BOMA California vis-à-vis their local association representation on the state association’s governing board.

CREJ LOOKS AT LEGISLATION TARGETING REAL ESTATE

In a wide ranging, comprehensive article, the California Real Estate Journal, assesses the current legislative climate for commercial real estate. Your Sacramento representatives provide insight, and help answer the question of whether or not our industry is being singled-out and/or targeted by policymakers. Commercial real estate is subject to some targeted measures such as split roll property tax, elimination of 1031-Echanges, and energy and environmental measures, but the unfortunate answer is that ALL businesses in California are seen as a potential source of revenue to facilitate spending in Sacramento. Click here to read the article.

OUT-OF-STATE PROPERTY OWNERS TAX BEING ENFORCED

If you manage property on behalf of out of state property owners, the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) wants to make you aware that unless certain exceptions apply, you are withholding and sending to the FTB seven percent of all payments that exceed $1,500 in a calendar year. (California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 18662). Although this requirement has been on the books for many years, the FTB has recently announced it will begin tighter enforcement.

Although you are highly encouraged to consult your accountant, here is some information from the FTB on Withholding and California Source Income. And here is a story from the San Diego U-T on this issue.

UPDATED AB 32 ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has released and updated economic analysis of California’s Climate Change mandate, AB 32 “Global Warming Solutions Act.” The original economic analysis released last year was met with widespread skepticism from the business community for what many thought was a rosy-scenario, and some thought was flat-out cheerleading.

The new analysis may continue on that same trend, judging by the headline in ARB’s press release: “AB 32 Will Lead To Job Growth, Energy Savings, and Rises In Personal Income.” Click here to read the release.

The business community was quick to respond to the report, through the coalition group AB 32 Implementation Group. “We view that conclusion very skeptically given the fact CARB’s own economic advisers have found that AB 32 would increase the cost of electricity, natural gas and gasoline and could impose a cap-and-trade tax of billions of dollars. The agency appears to be out of step with more mainstream economic impact studies on climate change regulations including those from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education which stated that AB 32 would put 3 million blue-collar jobs at risk.” Click here to read the full AB 32 IG Release.

And for another great editorial from the San Diego Union-Tribune, click here to read the editorial entitled,”Finally, common sense / Governor: AB 32 must mesh with rest of nation on climate change.”

BILL TO DIVERSIFY ELECTRICITY SOURCES

The Governor has signed a bill to help the state diversify its sources for generating electricity. SBX8 34 (Padilla; D – Los Angeles) expedites permitting of environmentally sound solar thermal and photovoltaic power plants, enabling them to qualify for grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). SBX8 34 will help ensure that 11 solar thermal and 4 photovoltaic power plants currently under review with the California Energy Commission remain eligible for the 30 percent project cost grants under the ARRA funds. We support this policy and applaud Senator Padilla and the Governor for working to provide more options for affordable clean energy.

ENERGY DEREGULATION BRIEFING IN SAN FRANCISCO

A special briefing entitled “How Electricity Deregulation could Impact Property Operations & Profitability,” is being offered by BOMA San Francisco. The meeting is open to all BOMA members and will be held in San Francisco on Thursday, April 1, 2010.

This free of charge, lunchtime briefing will educate industry members about the legislative and rule making activity by the State of California that will re-open electricity markets to Direct Access. Presenters will illustrate the value proposition of the Direct Access market to property owners/managers and highlight how selecting the right provider can save money.

Lunch will be provided. An online reservation is required to secure your seat.

WORKWEEK REFORM CONSIDERED

In coalition with the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber), we are working to promote the adoption of a simplified process for establishing flexible work schedules such as 4/10s and 9/80s. SB 1335 (Cox and Dutton) provides a process whereby the employee can simply request in writing and the employer may mutually agree to flexible schedules. Currently, the only method for employers to grant employees 9 or 10-hour workdays at straight time is a rigid, complex, and bureaucratic process. Any deviation can void the election and give rise to costly lawsuits. Click here to send a letter to your local legislator.

CALIFORNIA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SUMMIT 2010 – MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW

The California Commercial Real Estate Summit (CCRES) will be held in Sacramento on June 22 & 23, 2010. This event is the one time of year that industry leaders converge on California’s Capitol to discuss with policymakers issues impacting commercial real estate. The summit will give you an opportunity to meet industry leaders from across the nation, high-level staff from Governor Schwarzenegger’s Administration, and California State Legislators.

For hotel accommodations, please contact the Hyatt Regency directly, 1-800-233-1234, and ask for the “CBPA” block of rooms. Deadline for Room Reservations is June 1, 2010.

The Commercial Real Estate Summit is organized by California Business Properties Association (CBPA), which is the recognized voice of all aspects of the commercial retail industrial real estate industry in California and is the designated legislative advocate for: International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), NAIOP of California, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP of California), Building Owners and Managers Association of California (BOMA California), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), California Downtown Association (CDA), Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), the Association of Commercial Real Estate – Southern California (ACRE) and the Certified Commercial Investment Members Institute (CCIM).

18-MONTH BUILDING CODE BILL MOVES FORWARD

AB 1693 (Ma; D – San Francisco), which we strongly support, will proposes to reduce the state’s administrative costs of adopting building codes and raise compliance levels by increasing the amount of time available for education and training of new building standards prior to those standards taking effect. The bill unanimously passed its first policy committee and moves on to fiscal committee. We are following this measure closely and will keep you informed.

ENERGY STAR BENCHMARK REGULATIONS – INPUT PLEASE

Regulations for California’s historic building benchmarking law are in the final process of being prepared by Energy Commission staff for the formal adoption process. We are seeking input from building owners, property managers, and other real estate professionals to make sure the implementation of this historic law is a success. Click here to read the draft regulations. Please send feedback, suggestions, and questions, to Matthew Hargrove.

AB 1103 was originally passed in 2007 and requires non-residential building owners to disclose their Energy Star rating to a buyer, lessee, or lender. This regulation was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2010; however, due to legal concerns regarding disclosing utility data, and how to deal with certain building types (such as, triple net lease situations), the measure has been delayed to allow the Energy Commission and its Benchmark Workgroup to write implementation regulations. We serve on the workgroup that is helping regulators craft policy, and expect final adoption sometime in Summer 2010, taking effect for buildings larger than 50,000 s.f. no earlier than January 1, 2011.

ZERO ENERGY PATHWAY WORKSHOP

For those of you that have an interest in regulations to mandate the concept known as “Zero Net Energy” for buildings, the CA Public Utilities Commission will hold a workshop at their San Francisco offices on April 7. A webinar/conference line will also be provided with the agenda at a later date.

 

 

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