The rumor mill is churning in Sacramento. A week from today is the deadline to introduce legislation for 2017. We have heard new rumors this week of a bill on rent control, Prop 13 reform and lowering voter threshold on parcel taxes.
The CalTax Tax Coalition meets regularly to share information and discuss legislation. Your AAGLA lobbyists are engaged with this coalition. We gathered this week and the meeting had a déjà vu familiarity. We keep hearing the same concerns at several different industry meetings. As with other issues in California, the President is affecting the tax legislation we may see. Whether federal funding is taken from California or not, his threat is not taken lightly. This results in the Legislature wanting to be ready. If there is any concern that a program’s funding may be stripped, the Legislature will likely look for a backfill. This becomes problematic based on the Governor’s budget proposal. California receives more than $343 billion a year in federal funds annually. While it’s unrealistic to think we could lose most of the funding, or even a large percentage, we could lose some. But even $5 billion would mean the State would need to find a backfill or cut services. This is not unique to any specific area of government. It’s widespread, including the rental housing industry and its effect on affordable housing. We expect several bills on this front.
The lingering effect of Bernie Sanders
In January, many self-described Bernie Sanders supporters were successful in California Democratic Party Delegate elections. A Legislator will usually endorse a handpicked slate of supporters and help them become the elected delegates for their district. This year was different. Many handpicked delegates lost. Bernie supporters felt that the Democratic Party wasn’t progressive enough and wanted a change. The reason it matters is more “inside politics” than anything else. Delegates vote on party officers, the party platform, as well as official party endorsements of candidates. Because delegates control the Democratic Party endorsements in a Senate or Assembly election, it gives them a voice. We are hearing many legislative proposals being suggested by this wave of new delegates including proposals from single-payer health care to abolishing Costa-Hawkins.
A narrow attempt at modifying Ellis Act
AB 423 (Bonta) was introduced yesterday. The bill would add residential hotels located in the city of Oakland to the list exempt from Ellis Act. Currently there is an exception for residential hotels in generally larger jurisdictions that meet certain population or age of property requirements. The current law seems to affect only San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Diego. Because it doesn’t meet the other requirements, AB 423 specifically adds Oakland to the exception list.
We are expecting 1,200 bills (or more) to be introduced between now and next Friday. We will be busy reading through the bills and will compile a list that are of interest to AAGLA.