Weekly Update- July 31, 2020

CBPA MEETS WITH CALIFORNIA ECONOMIC RECOVERY COUNCIL CO-CHAIR STEYER

California Business Properties Association continues to work the broader business community to ask the governor and state regulators to take immediate action to help businesses survive the ongoing economic crisis. To date, we have had little to no response from the governor on major issues you have raised and are clearly defined in our recovery plans. The governor has announced that, despite meeting the economic criteria necessary to pause it, he is moving forward with the scheduled increase in the minimum wage in January. There continues to be a disconnect between the governor and business community that we are working to address.

As part of those efforts, we joined with some of the state’s largest industry organizations for a call with Tom Steyer, Chair of the governor’s Economic Recovery Taskforce, to elevate many of the critical issues we’ve repeatedly raised with the governor and his administration. Specifically, we discussed:

 

  1. well-intentioned employers, schools and hospitals following (and in many cases exceeding) local, state, and federal guidelines should be immune from costly and burdensome COVID-19 related lawsuits. This is also an issue that has been raised nationally and is being discussed as part of the 4th recovery package currently being debated in Congress.
  2. a series of regulations, including many that were scheduled to go in place before COVID-19 hit, are creating significant barriers to job creation and retention.
  3. —employers are rapidly shifting workplace policies to adapt to long-term stay-at-home orders.
      1. Individualized work plans to address current regulations on 8-hour workday, mandated meal and rest breaks and overtime
      2. Workers compensation claims for injuries that occur in the home office and are unrelated to employment duties
  4. —removing barriers to infrastructure and housing development will help sustain and grow jobs and have a substantial long-term benefit for housing, homelessness, and broadband access.
  5. —the Legislature and special interest groups are promoting a series of tax increases on the business community that will further exacerbate the current crisis and directly impact economic recovery efforts. Split Roll remains the major threat to the economy.

Mr. Steyer listened to the issues we raised and assured us he would be back in touch to keep this conversation moving forward. He indicated he will be following up with us to provide more information on the direction of the taskforce and its recommendations. We expect to receive that information next week and will immediately schedule a follow-up conversation.

In the meantime, please continue to reach out and let us know what we can do to assist you during these times and if there are any additional urgent issues that we can help elevate with both Mr. Steyer and the Governor.

Click here to read more about the appointment of Mr. Steyer and the scope of the California Economic Recovery Council.

 

HEAD SHAKING OPPOSITION TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING BILL

State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) is receiving stating from her Far-Left flank on a bill that makes sense to most. SB 1085 would reduce fees charged to builders who do affordable housing units. Instead of seeing the bill as way to create more affordable housing, local officials and activists in San Francisco see only a loss to the amount of funding they will receive. This is about as clear of an example that you can get about how askew our priorities – and basic understanding of economics – can get. Click here for the full article.

 

AG SLAMMED OVER BIASED PROP 15 SPLIT ROLL TITLE AND SUMMARY

The NO on Prop 15 Campaign released the following statement regarding the title and summary given to Proposition 15:

SACRAMENTO, CA – On Tuesday, the California Secretary of State officially released the official voter information guide for the November election. The guide included a biased title and summary for Prop 15, the $11.5-billion property tax increase, written by Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The Southern California News Group editorial board, representing 11 newspapers, called Becerra’s title and summary “misleading, if not completely false.” The editorial board urged the Legislature to move the task of writing titles and summaries for statewide ballot measures to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office instead, as Becerra’s biased descriptions only erode trust in government.

Read excerpts from “Editorial: Biased ballot measure titles and summaries distort our democracy” below:

“Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the titles and summaries for the measures that will appear on the Nov. 3 statewide general election ballot, providing more evidence, as if any was needed, that this is a job for a neutral, nonpartisan analyst, not a partisan elected official…

“The title and summary of Proposition 15 are not only tilted toward one side, they are less than fully accurate. Property in California is not taxed on “purchase price.” It’s taxed on fair market value at the time of purchase, adjusted annually for inflation with increases capped at 2 percent per year. If the market value of a property declines below its assessed value, it is reassessed at the fair market value.

“To say property is currently taxed on the “purchase price” conveys an impression that property taxes do not rise at all, which is misleading in a way that favors the measure’s proponents, who seek to raise taxes. It’s also misleading, if not completely false, to state that Proposition 15 “increases funding sources.” It doesn’t add new sources, it increases taxes on the existing sources: businesses in California.

“The official title and summary of a measure should be clear, accurate and neutral. Often, it’s the only thing busy voters read on a long ballot before making their decision.

“This isn’t the first time Becerra has written ballot material that misleads voters…

“Ballot measures propose significant changes to the law and ask voters to make important choices that cannot easily be reversed. Tricking the electorate into believing they’re voting for one thing when they’re really getting another is a formula for increased cynicism. Distrust of government can spill over into other issues, and the consequences can be very severe…”

 

UNLAWFUL DETAINER BILLS

There are three bills alive right now impacting property owners and tenants relating to rent and unlawful detainer issues. Although they are all currently intended to apply to residential only, we are following very closely and engaging along with partners at the CA Apartment Association.

Two of the three bills are, AB 828 (Ting; D-San Francisco) and AB 1436 (Chiu; D-San Francisco), are opposed by many business and property groups as they would shift the burden of COVID-19 related economic issues solely onto property owners, which put them at jeopardy of going into default and losing their properties. That approach helps no one and would exacerbate the problem.

While the third, SB 1410 (Caballero; D-Salinas), while not perfect, does take a much more balanced approach as we have been advocating since march. We have pointed to this bill as a workable framework that recognizes both the property owner and the tenant need assistance, and contracts must be honored. The language currently is intended to apply to residential only, so we are following closely but remain neutral.

However, the California Apartment Association is working with the author and legislative leadership to address issues in the bill and we are supporting them in those efforts. Most people in the Capitol believe something legislating in this area will pass and we think SB 1410 has the best chance of actually doing something that will help both property owners and tenants and not just be a symbolic gesture that gets thrown out in court.

We will keep you posted on what happens during the final sprint of session in August.

LEGISLATURE RETURNS AFTER COVID-19 RECESS

Both Houses of the California State Legislature delayed the reconvening of session from its short Summer Recess but will return next week to resume activity. That will give the body just four weeks to complete policy and fiscal hearings, and floor sessions for thousands of legislative measures still eligible for votes. That process normally takes place over a three-month period.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislative body had tried to manage with a truncated legislative schedule and now because several legislators and staff members have recently tested positive for coronavirus they will take more time before returning to the Capitol.

The Legislature has until the end of August to deal with thousands of bills that have been introduced this legislative cycle. August 31 is a Constitutional deadline to end the Regular Session.

The Governor and Legislature could do a Special Session after that, however, that bring tight rule, high vote counts, and will take away from campaigning, so not many believe it will happen. Though, anything seems possible about now.

CBPA is tracking hundreds of measures on behalf of the industrial, retain, and office sectors of the commercial real estate industry. As your representatives in Sacramento we are continuing to engage legislators and their staffs on these bills even though the legislature is not currently meeting in person. We remain active and vigilant and will engage in whatever manner is appropriate to protect your interests.

 

NOVEMBER 2020 – OFFICIAL VOTER INFORMATION GUIDE

After Attorney General Xavier Becerra finalized Title and Summary for propositions appearing on the November 2020 statewide ballot, the Secretary of State has released the following official voter guide.

Click here to read all about the 12 propositions, including Prop 15, which will kill Prop 13.

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