Category Archives: Politics

General Politics

Update From Jay Obernolte’s First Term as State Assemblyman, 33rd District

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Assemblyman_Jay_Obernolte

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte

During my first term representing you in the State Assembly, I have had the honor to serve my constituents not only through the advocacy of my dis­trict office, but also by authoring and passing legislation that benefits our district.

My first piece of legislation that im­pacts the district and our rural areas was AB 1034. AB 1034 amended the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) of 1975 to allow the con­struction and operation of renewable energy projects on already-disturbed mining lands. Too often renewable energy projects that do not benefit our communities are sited in our neighbor­hoods, causing blight. This bill allows renewable energy projects to be sited away from our communities and pro­tects our environment by encouraging them to be located on previously dis­turbed lands and not our pristine des­ert.

Another piece of legislation I authored and passed was AB 1773. This bill expanded the Renewable Energy Self-Generation Bill Credit Transfer (RES-BCT) program to allow qualifying local government entities to participate in the program. This bill had a direct impact on the Victor Valley Waste Water Reclamation Authority and will save their ratepayers $400,000.00 annually.

AB 809, which was sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Associa­tion, requires local ordinances that im­pose or raise taxes to clearly state in the description of the measure the fact that the measure is a new tax or tax increase, the amount of money to be raised annually from the tax, and the rate and duration of the tax to be levied. Previously, when citizens would vote on local ballot measures, that informa­tion was not required to be available to the voters. AB 809 prevents local agencies from disguising tax increases from the voters.

Finally, AB 1775 adjusted California tax return due dates for Limited Lia­bility Companies (LLC) and C corpo­rations to make them consistent with federal law. The federal tax due dates were modified last year for several common federal returns. However, this discrepancy complicated the filing process for many of the state’s taxpay­ers and businesses which were required to comply with multiple tax deadlines for the same returns. AB 1775 creates consistency between state and federal regulations and saves taxpayers from costly penalties.

During the upcoming legislative ses­sion, I plan to continue authoring and advancing legislation that will keep jobs in California and promote trans­parency and government efficiency wherever possible. I believe that all Californians deserve that from their state government.

To that effect I have introduced sev­eral bills that will have a direct impact on our region. Last year the Gover­nor signed into law Senate Bill 1263, which prohibits the permitting of a home or cabin where the source of water supply is hauled water. That bill was retroactive in nature, ultimately rendering many property owner’s land worthless by taking away their abil­ity to build on land located in areas without adequate water infrastructure. I’ve introduced AB 366 in response, which would exempt property owners of existing parcels from this law and allow them to build on their property if legally obtained hauled water is the listed source of water. This bill will protect the rights of rural property owners.

Also, I have introduced AB 195, which expands on the transparency re­quirements enacted by AB 809. AB 195 extends transparency to all local initiatives that levy taxes. I strongly believe this transparency is needed be­cause voters should have access to all relevant information in order to make a responsible, informed decision about a tax increase.

I also recently introduced AB 912, the Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act. This bill would give state agen­cies the flexibility to reduce statutory fines and penalties on small businesses in cases where the violation was inad­vertent and the business is cooperating with the agency.

In the coming months I plan on in­troducing more legislation to benefit our region and all Californians. I am a California optimist, and I believe that working together we can make our state once again the crucible of in­novation and entrepreneurship that it used to be.

It is an honor to represent you.

General Politics

Easy to Lead, Hard to Govern

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By Paul C. Granillo, President and CEO, Inland Empire Economic Partnership

Part of the mission of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership is to ensure that the needs and reality of the economic situation of our region are represented in national and state­wide organizations whose decisions or influence might effect the Inland Empire.

One of those organizations that I am pleased to be associated with is California Forward, whose goal is to make the promise of the California Dream attainable for all. Its mission is to inspire better decision-making by governments at all levels in order to: Grow Middle-Class Jobs, Pro­mote Cost-effective Public Services, and Create Accountability for Re­sults. This year California Forward celebrates its 10-year Anniversary as an organization, and I was honored to attend their Gala celebration.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Former Defense Secretary and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta.

Secretary Panetta served as the founding co-chair of California Forward, along with Tom McKiernan, the former CEO of the Automobile Club of Southern California. One was a democrat and the other a republican. Their goal was to help create a organization that would work in a non-partisan way to find solutions for California problems. Sounds easy but it is hard work. In his keynote address Panetta decried the lack of civility and accountability by elected officials at all levels of government. Put plainly, are we electing people who only care about themselves and have lost or never had the understanding that before winning for themselves or their party they were elected to govern? Whether you are a Republican at the national level or a California Democrat, majority control means nothing if choices to tax, regulate and educate are not made with bipartisan input and the motivation that governing means creating the best solutions for the lives of the governed. Sometimes in the Inland Empire we feel forgotten and unappreciated. We cannot let those feelings stop us from holding our elected officials at all levels accountable, not just for their votes but for their attitude toward how they carried out their role in OUR governance structures. It is easy for people to call themselves leaders; it is much harder to actually be one.

General Politics

A Libertarian Approach to Regulatory Reform in California

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By Brian W. Ryman, Co-Chair, Victor Valley Libertarian Alliance

The Libertarian Party of California af­firms in our platform that, “all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others to live in whatever manner they choose.” This is antithetical to the regulatory environment in California, which controls every aspect of our lives and our business dealings. It is the purpose of this portion of our program to show how we can reform the current system to rein in regulations and allow for greater individual freedom in the state.

The proposals here are not meant to be seen as the final goal of the Libertarian Party in regards to regulations in the state. Nor are they meant to be the only course of action in bringing about a freer society. These are actions that can be taken now, within the present framework established by the US and California Constitutions, federal and state law, and current regula­tory mechanisms and procedures.

Over-regulation is a problem for Cali­fornians. Before offering solutions, it is necessary to understand where we are and examine how we came to this point.

Current Problem

California’s economy is floundering as businesses–both large and small–are leav­ing the state at an alarming rate. The rea­son for this is clear: California is consis­tently rated the worst, or one of the worst, states in which to do business. According to the Tax Foundation’s 2015 State Busi­ness Tax Climate Index, California ranked 48th for corporate taxes (beating only New York and New Jersey); For 11 years in a row Chief Executive Network has rated California the worst state in which to do business; The California Business Roundtable reports that, “California’s regulatory environment is the most cost­ly, complex and uncertain in the nation.” The threefold burden of taxation, legisla­tive uncertainty, and regulations are mak­ing it next to impossible to run a profitable business in this state.

According to the state constitution,“[t]he legislative power of this State is vested in the California Legislature which consists of the Senate and Assembly” as well as “the powers of initiative and referendum” which are reserved to the people of the state. Ironically, neither the legislature nor the people are the source of most of the regulations. The vast majority are pro­posed by the more than 200 state agencies and commissions given that authority by the Legislature. When they are adopted by the rulemaking agency, approved by the Office of Administrative Law and filed with the Secretary of State, these regula­tions have the force of law.

Unfortunately, regulations adopted by state agents are often inconsistent across different agencies and lack transparency and accountability. These regulators often do not adequately understand the impact of their actions.

The detrimental effects of California’s regulatory climate cannot be over-stated. To frame it based on its economic im­pact, it is helpful to put it in perspective by comparing the cost of regulation to the cost of corporate taxation. While busi­nesses operating in California in 2009 paid ~$9,535,679,000 in Corporate income tax, the regulatory costs for these same businesses were over $467,814,918,000. In other words, the regulatory burden on California businesses is 49 times greater than their tax burden. The combination of excessive taxation and regulation has kept Californians from their potential prosper­ity.

How we got here

Overregulation in California is not a re­cent phenomenon. In 1977 Dow Chemical Corporation abandoned construction plans for a major facility. Dow gave govern­ment regulation and litigation regarding the environmental impact of the plant as the reason. The following year Standard Oil of Ohio abandoned a pipeline project in Long Beach for the same reasons. Both of these projects would have employed thousands of people in a state hit hard by the fiscal malaise of the late 1970s. These events and the subsequent popular revolt that culminated in the passage of the Peo­ple’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxa­tion (Proposition 13) in 1978 had people starting to question the scope and depth of government in their lives. This uprising of the people, and the fact that concerned citizens were alarmed that the California Administrative Code had grown from ~13,500 pages in 1974 to ~ 28,000 pages in 1979, made even government officials take notice.

In response to calls for regulatory reform, California’s legislators from both the Re­publican and Democratic parties proposed a number of bills during the 1978 and 1979 sessions. Most of the bills proposed by the Republicans relied on the legislative veto and the sunset clause for regulations. Democrat Assembly Speaker Leo T. Mc­Carthy, in order to stave off these sweep­ing reforms, put forth Assembly Bill 1111 (Administrative Procedures Act of 1979) on March 22, 1979. This compromise bill passed both the Assembly and Senate al­most unanimously.

Instead of placing regulatory respon­sibility back in the hands of the legisla­ture, AB 1111 established another layer of bureaucracy by creating the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to oversee the regulatory process. AB 1111 required that any new administrative regulations from 122 rule-making agencies within the ex­ecutive branch of state government would have to be submitted to this new Office of Administrative Law.

The OAL was charged with assuring that any new regulation had to show the fol­lowing: Necessity – a proposed regulation must have “substantial evidence” that the regulation is needed to effectuate the purpose of existing legislation. Authority – the agency making or deleting a regula­tion must have authority to do so. Clarity – the meaning of regulations must be eas­ily understood by people directly affected by them. Consistency – regulations must be consistent with other laws and regula­tions. Reference – regulations must make clear reference to laws and/or regulations that they are modifying. Nonduplication – a regulation does not serve the same pur­pose as a state or federal statute or another regulation.

If a filing meets these standards, the OAL publishes the text of the proposed regula­tion in The California Regulatory Notice Register (Notice Register). At this point the public has 45 days to comment in writ­ing on the regulation as proposed. If there are substantive changes made as a result of this review, the comment period is ex­tended another 15 days. The agency may also opt for public hearings related to its proposals.

There is also a provision for “Emergency Regulations.” A state agency may adopt an emergency regulation if it can show that the regulation is necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health and safety, or general welfare. These regulations take effect immediate­ly, without public comment. The public can appeal these regulations directly to the OAL within 5 days. The OAL then has 10 days to substantiate the need for the emergency measure or reject it. Emer­gency regulations remain in effect for 120 days unless renewed.

AB 1111 and subsequent legislation and executive orders also called for a review of the existing regulations to insure that they met the criteria set forth in the new law. So what were the results of these measures?

During the first two years following im­plementation, the growth in new regula­tions averaged a reduction of 49%, and the adoption of emergency regulations was reduced by 63%. As for existing regulations–by the second year, 86 State Agencies had reviewed 23,942 regula­tions, repealed 5,690, and sent back 7,907 for amendment.

Some might see this as promising, but the appearance of meaningful reform was short lived. Many of the new regulations that were disapproved and old regulations that were eliminated were simply dupli­cative of existing statutes or regulations, and most of the regulations sent back for amendment were sent back for lack of clarity. One such rejection for clarity was due to the following language concerning operation of lift equipment on which a person stood on a platform: “Before ele­vating personnel, make sure that the mast is vertical in a sideways direction as well as forward and rearward.” The regulation was later approved with the substitution of the above sentence with the following one: “Before elevating personnel, make sure that the mast is vertical and/or the platform is level.”

Unfortunately, the Regulatory Reforms of 1979, the last major set of reforms at­tempted in the state, had little or no effect in curtailing the promulgation of regula­tions. In fact, the volume of regulations has more than tripled since their enact­ment. During the same period, the num­ber of agencies and commissions that can write regulations has increased by more than 100.

While there is no precise number of state regulations governing Californians to­day, the California Code of Regulations (CCR) consists of 28 Titles and occu­pies 44 bound volumes averaging ~2068 nominal pages (the term nominal is used here because while the pagination may in­dicate 2068 pages, some pages have other divisions- for example page 28 might be continued into 28.1, 28.2, 28.3, etc…). Based on random volume sampling, the estimated total number of pages of cur­rent regulations is between 90,992 and 118,289. Each of these pages may contain several regulations.

It may be that true reform was never in­tended. In 1996 in a series of interviews conducted with Leo T. McCarthy, the au­thor of AB 1111, he made it clear that he did not want to put “some kind of limit on freedom to act through regulations.” He acknowledged that, “One motive that prompted the law was that Democrats were being strongly criticized by Repub­licans for passing new laws that made government bigger and more costly.” This idea is further reinforced by his statement, “My motivation was to put the Democrat­ic Party in a more responsible position as far as the growth of the size of govern­ment is concerned.”

So if the Democrats and McCarthy were acting out of political motivations, why didn’t the Republicans call them on it and work for real reform? McCarthy had the answer to this: “For all the talk about big government, I find Republican legislators spending very little time on analyzing statutes and regu­lations adopted in the past. Their objec­tive to reduce government spending is not undertaken in any specific or analytical way.”

It is time to rectify the shortsightedness of the two establishment parties and enact legislation that will have a real and sub­stantive effect on regulations in Califor­nia. The Libertarian Party is poised to do this, and some of our proposed solutions are in the following section.

Solutions

The principles on which the Libertarian Party was founded call for a maximum of personal liberty and a minimum of gov­ernmental force. Therefore, any approach to Regulatory Reform must be geared to­ward the minimization of artificial gov­ernment regulations. Because of this, the following section offers means within our current system by which regulations can be curtailed and eliminated.

Past proposals have fallen far short. The two main Republican proposals of 1979, even if enacted, were flawed. The Legisla­tive Veto was found to be unconstitutional in 1983, and sunset laws, on their own, have proven ineffective where they have been enacted. Vern McKinley, in his re­search for the Resolution Trust Corpora­tion found that, “In practice, sunset pro­visions have not been very effective, and likely will do little to slow the growth of statutes, agencies, and regulations.”

Sunset clauses for regulations – clauses in a regulation that require periodic review of the rationale for the continued existence of the particular regulation–rarely lead to the end of a regulation. Among the states that use sunset provisions on a regular ba­sis, less than 21% of laws or regulations subject to sunset are allowed to end.

It is clear that more sweeping reforms are needed. These reforms should include a reworking of the Administrative Proce­dures Act to bring the legislative author­ity, now residing in the Regulatory Agen­cies within the Executive branch, back to the Legislature, as called for in the State Constitution.

While many may question the wisdom of vesting regulatory authority in the Cali­fornia Legislature, recent events show that the authority placed there would be less detrimental than leaving it with the Executive. Governor Jerry Brown has stated that he will use every authority at his disposal to push through petroleum- reduction provisions that the legislature properly removed from Senate Bill 350. He pledged to use the full force of his reg­ulatory authority to “change the very ba­sis of our industrial economy, and I think we’re making tremendous progress.”

The Administrative Procedures Act should be modified to redefine the Office of Ad­ministrative Law as an agent of the Legis­lature and not as an office within the Ex­ecutive Branch. The OAL should continue its current vetting process for regulations (including the public review process), but having met their mandated requirements, proposed regulations should be submitted to the legislature for approval. The regula­tion would then be signed into law by the governor as any other law. This procedure would avoid the Constitutional issues that invalidate the legislative veto and would slow the onslaught of regulations.

To further increase freedom and prosperi­ty in California, we should expand our use of sunset provisions to all regulatory laws and agencies. Every regulation should come up for review every three to seven years and every regulatory agency should come up for review every five years (with 1/5th of the total number of agencies be­ing reviewed each year). If a regulation is not reaffirmed at the end of the review, then it is stricken from the books. If an agency fails to have its charter extended upon review, then it will be eliminated.

These reforms address most regulations in California. The only others that need to be dealt with are those passed by public initiative or proposition. To curtail regu­latory expansionism through the initiative process, we call for an amendment to the California Constitution to place sunset provisions on all regulatory or tax propo­sitions allowed on the ballot.

General Politics

Over-Regulation Slows Growth in High Desert

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By Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder-Clerk

In the last few years, our county has seen an increase in population size as families from neighboring communi­ties seek the many attributes that make our county worth living in. Since 2000, San Bernardino County’s population has grown by approximately 22%. This is good news, as it is a sign that our local economy will continue to become more robust, affording more opportunities for people to become home-owners for and small business owners to invest in our communities.

The 2016 annual property assessment roll showcases that San Bernardino County is heading in the right direc­tion. However, it also highlights a need for community stakeholders to really dive into the issue of what’s hindering further growth in our communities, particularly, in the High Desert: over-regulation.

The 2016 San Bernardino County assessment roll contained 817,383 taxable parcels and is valued at $194,671,781,504. This is a 4.2% net increase as compared to the 2015 as­sessment roll. Primary reasons for the increase countywide are attributed to the sustained recovery of real estate values, increased sales activity, Prop 13 inflationary adjustments and the restoration of assessed values previ­ously reduced under Prop 8 decline in market value provisions.

The High Desert communities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia, and Victorville had a total count of 133,146 parcels, valued at $21,413,577,745 collectively, for the year 2016.

Countywide, the average increase in real estate values was 4.45%. An area of concern is the unsecured valuations, mainly of business personal property, which was 4.9% lower than 2015. This decrease was due partly to com­panies divesting of property, leaving the county to do business elsewhere or closing down.

As was clear in the 2016 assessment roll, our community gets hit hard when businesses choose to leave the county, do business elsewhere, or never even set foot in the county. Yet our com­munity continues to see an increase in population size and a demand for housing, which means businesses and real estate developers should be flock­ing to our community to invest.

According to Dr. John Husing’s lat­est quarterly report, one of the main vulnerabilities for the Inland Empire is over-regulation of construction projects, which delays industrial, in­frastructure and residential projects for years, even if funding sources are already secured. I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Husing. With demand being so high for affordable housing, there just isn’t enough development, be­cause environmental regulations slow down the process. According to the High Desert Association of Realtors, 980 homes are currently available in the High Desert, which is 1,000 homes short of having a balanced market.

In order to experience further eco­nomic growth, San Bernardino Coun­ty will have to attract development by working with state leaders to remove burdensome governmental regula­tions that are hindering investments in housing and industrial buildings. We need to do more to attract people from other counties to live, shop, invest, and grow here. I have always main­tained a strong commitment to work­ing with community stakeholders and the business community, with a goal of economic growth in the High Des­ert region, as well as throughout all of San Bernardino County. The connec­tion between the accessibility of good paying jobs and housing is an indica­tor of the health of the local economy.

As San Bernardino County’s Asses­sor-Recorder-Clerk, and a member of the California Assessors’ Association Legislative Committee, I am commit­ted to working with colleagues to de­velop and support legislation which encourage growth and streamline gov­ernmental regulations. It is imperative that our county has the ability to grow jobs and have access to affordable housing, as these are the foundation of creating prosperity in our region.

Here are the assessed values for the High Desert region:

Assessed_Values

General Politics Transportation

It’s Time for Action on Failing Roadways

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Scott Wilk

By Senator Scott Wilk

Responding to a call on Cajon Pass last month, a San Bernardino County Fire crew watched as their beloved Engine plummeted about 20 feet to its demise as Interstate 15 collapsed underneath it.

Thankfully, the firefighters remained on what solid ground was left on the dilapi­dated thoroughfare. But this incident highlighted, in dramatic fashion, the ramshackle shape of our region’s net­work of roads.

We once led the world in transportation ingenuity in this state. During the mid­dle part of the last century, California — under the direction of Jerry Brown’s father, Governor Pat Brown — built a system of highways unrivaled by any other in the nation.

They built long roads over tough terrain and huge bridges up and down our rug­ged coastline. And they found new and innovative ways to fund and complete these massive undertakings, partnering with the federal government to raise funds for the unprecedented projects.

In the years since, though, we’ve let those advancements that made Califor­nia a beacon of progress fall by the way­side. Our roads and highways, once the model for transportation excellence, are now a paragon of dilapidation and mis­management. The highway system, one of the most ambitious projects our state took on back then, is now in shambles.

The collapse of Interstate 15 a was shocking display of our incompetence in the area of road maintenance. Just last year another instance was on prime display in the Victor Valley when High­way 18, a major commuter route be­tween the Victor and Antelope Valleys, remained closed for a year and a half as mismanagement of the repair project led to delay after delay, increasing cost and detouring over 5,000 commuters headed to work.

Unfortunately, these are not rare ex­amples; they only a few in a long line of troublesome extremes we’ve experi­enced after decades of neglectful trans­portation policies.

This winter Highway 50 in Northern California was almost completely inop­erable due to half of its lanes falling off the hillside in the Sierra Nevada moun­tains. Likewise, Interstate 80 and high­ways 49, 101, 20, 1 and 299 have all left Californians stranded in remote areas of the state as one after another they’ve seen massive failures over the past few months.

Not only have we let our roads fall into horrible disrepair, but we long ago stopped pursuing new projects as well. Our transportation network was a mas­sive undertaking for our predecessors. They saw the need to connect our state and the driving economic force that convenient transportation could be; and they took action.

Our highways made trade and travel throughout the state easy and accessible for all Californians. But our transporta­tion infrastructure hasn’t been upgraded in nearly 60 years, and it wasn’t built for today’s California. Interstate 5, and most of our state’s highways, were built in the 1950s when our population was just over 10 million; by the end of this decade it will hit 40 million.

California leaders way back then, includ­ing the first Governor Brown, couldn’t have anticipated the massive population growth we’ve experienced or that their successors, and children, would give up entirely on maintaining and expanding our transportation network. Unfortu­nately, the old adage about apples and the tree apparently doesn’t hold true when it comes to prioritizing our trans­portation needs.

Our governor and the legislature have not prioritized these needs in the least. We have over $57 billion in deferred maintenance for our roads. That means $57 billion worth of things they could and should have taken care of but didn’t. That means $57 billion worth of repairs just to keep the roads we already have in working order, much less expand or build new ones.

While political elites in Sacramento will tell you there’s no money for these ser­vices and that raising taxes, again and again, is the only answer, this is simply not the case. Californians already pay the highest transportation taxes in the nation. In fact, Californians are already taxed enough each year to cover every squareinch of every highway in the state with dollar bills.

But our politicians, in their infinite wis­dom, have “redirected” those funds to cover their reckless spending in other areas. So while we’re already being taxed to pay for highway repair, and taxed again for highway maintenance, and taxed again for highway construc­tion, we continue to see the deferred maintenance figures rise and road driv­ability fall.

Adding more taxes is not going to solve the problems we face.

California Republicans have introduced a plan to address those maintenance needs without raising taxes. Instead, we’ve proposed spending tax revenue meant for infrastructure repairs on – in­frastructure repairs.

The legislature knows the money is there. To fix our roads, to build free­ways and expand those we have. To build a highway system suited to handle the huge number of people traversing this state each day. To end traffic con­gestion. To reduce deadly accidents. To solve our state’s infrastructure problems once and for all. But they’d rather not.

They’d rather “redirect,” “repurpose” and “redistribute” our money to pork-barrel projects and gubernatorial pipedreams. They’d rather do any and everything but take action to fix one of the most glaring problems impacting Californians today.

So, as we drive on the nation’s most di­lapidated roads and highways, we do it as our government spends $64 billion on a bullet train to nowhere rather than directing that money to the $57 billion in maintenance our roads desperately need.

It is time for action on our failing road­ways. We can no longer afford to stand by as the asphalt crumbles beneath us. The fire engine that fell off a collapsing Interstate 15 last month was empty; no one was hurt.

But next time it could be a school bus full of our children, or a family headed to Sunday service or any other night­mare scenario where our government’s negligence on fixing our roads leads to the loss of human lives.

Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Victor valleys.

General Politics

Governor’s Record Budget Asks Taxpayers For Even More

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By Senator Mike Morrell

At the beginning of the year, the gov­ernor released the details of his pro­posed state budget. While the next few months will be filled with negotiations and committee hearings to hammer out the details, it is already clear that this budget continues a trend of gov­ernment growth and spending at the expense of the taxpayer – this time to the tune of a record $122.6 billion.

The governor and Democratic leaders have reiterated their belief that Cali­fornia is in good financial shape and have used this assessment to justify spending increases, though many, in­cluding the governor himself, con­tinue to warn that another recession could be just around the corner.

Yet still the governor has doubled down on calls for higher taxes.

A cornerstone of this plan would enact $3 billion in new gas taxes and “road user fees.” Senate Republicans have put forward our own plan that would provide nearly the same amount for California’s roads and highways with­out raising taxes. Included in our plan is a guarantee that taxes paid by driv­ers and truckers would be used to the benefit of our roads and highways.

If you drive as much as I do, you are well aware that in California, we al­ready pay among the nation’s highest prices for gas. Between taxes and en­vironmental regulations, government costs imposed on motorists are nearly 70 cents per gallon. For families and businesses alike, paying more at the pump will mean even less money to put toward investing and saving for the future.

This budget proposal is premised on a view that the books are balanced. By several measures, however, Califor­nia’s fiscal situation is far from bal­anced.

Consider that the State Treasurer has estimated state and local government debt at $1.5 trillion. While the budget includes about $7 billion to pay down related debt costs, this amount rep­resents only the minimum necessary to pay off a small portion of state li­abilities. With windfall revenues, the budget could pay off more debt, avoid future interest costs, and prevent the cycle of issuing more debt to finance existing debt so that future generations are not stuck having to foot this bill rather than fuel more out-of-control spending in Sacramento on things like high-speed rail.

Our duty is to provide an environ­ment where businesses and families thrive. We have our work cut out for us in California, where the nation’s top CEOs for 11 years straight have named our state the worst place to do business.

Throughout history it has been dem­onstrated that the larger government becomes, the more it consumes, and the fewer freedoms all of us will have. Last year Republicans heeded this cautionary truth to stop tax increases in their tracks.

As we finalize the budget in the months ahead, our resolve remains the same as we work to protect the taxpayers of California.

Senator Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cu­camonga, represents the 23rd District in the State Senate which includes portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

General Politics

Valdez appointed San Bernardino Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector

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Oscar Valdez

Oscar Valdez was appointed to the vacated elected posi­tion of Audi­tor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on February 17, 2016. Prior to his appointment, Valdez served as the Assistant Auditor-Con­troller/Treasurer/Tax Collector from May 2011 until his current appoint­ment in 2016 and was responsible for the management and oversight of the auditor, controller, and treasurer divi­sions for the County of San Bernardino. Valdez has over 20 years of accounting, auditing, budgeting, finance, and man­agement experience, 16 of which have been with San Bernardino County.

The Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector’s Office has a budget of near­ly $40 million and employs 315 county employees. The department performs the accounting, reporting, and claims of all county financial activities to ensure sound financial management. Valdez is responsible for the investment of all county and school district funds within the county investment pool and over­sees the collection of over $2.3 billion in property taxes each year for payment of over 805,000 annual secured and un­secured tax bills.

Valdez and his staff provide courteous and professional customer service to county departments, residents, and local government agencies. Valdez’s commit­ment to providing superior customer ser­vice is evident by the many convenient ways his office offers residents to pay their property taxes, including eCheck, debit card, and credit card services available online, in person, and over the phone. On March 22, 2016, Valdez was presented with a NACo Award in recog­nition of his department’s Online Bank­ing Tax Payment Project, which resulted in increased efficiency in processing payments remitted through a taxpayer’s online banking system.

Valdez’s office averages a 98% annual collection rate, meeting the established performance measures and in doing so ­supporting the Countywide Vision and Goals. Property tax bills that are not paid become tax-defaulted and subject to the Tax Collector’s power to sell after five or more years. Annual tax sale auc­tions are held each May in an effort to return these properties to property tax-paying status. Properties not sold at the May auction are re-offered in August at a reduced minimum bid. Last year 2,296 tax-defaulted properties were offered at the May and August tax sales, and 92.5% of those properties were sold, resulting in $14.7 million in collected revenue.

The Tax Collector’s tax sale auctions are hosted online. This year’s auction was held May 14-20, 2016. Each parcel list­ed for tax sale included a current parcel number, situs city, minimum bid, parcel map and Google map, and some parcels also included a photo. To maintain single ownership on undeveloped tracts, Val­dez’s office offered grouped parcels that must be purchased on an all-or-nothing basis. Developers interested in review­ing current tract maps for grouped par­cels can request a copy from the County Recorder’s Office. A complete listing of parcels scheduled for future tax sale can request a copy of the listings from the Tax Collector’s website at www.mytax­collector.com under Tax Collector>Tax Sale Information>Current Sale Items.

Beyond his many roles for the County of San Bernardino, Valdez is an active member of the following professional organizations: Government Finance Of­ficers Association, California Associa­tion of County Treasurers and Tax Col­lectors, California State Association of County Auditors, Association of Gov­ernment Accountants, and Institute of Internal Auditors.

General Politics

Building Opportunity and Time for the High Desert

Published by:

By Tim Watkins, Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs, San Bernardino Associated Governments

In the High Desert region of San Bernar­dino County, transportation continues to be a major factor in the quality of life of the people who live and work here and beyond. According to census data, near­ly 40,000 residents of the High Desert work in areas south of the Cajon Pass. This commuter demand relies heavily on a freeway corridor that also serves as a primary artery for goods movement to and from the rest of the nation, offering significant motivation to find solutions to the transportation challenges before us. As the economy continues to slowly rebound from the downturn experienced almost a decade ago, housing starts are returning to the region. This will only result in even greater demand on our in­frastructure.

Over the past few years, the San Bernar­dino Associated Governments (SAN­BAG) has been directly involved in the development and delivery of major improvements to connect people and communities to opportunity and time through enhancements to our transpor­tation system.

For example, when SANBAG and the City of Victorville were joined by nearly 300 citizens and business owners to open the La Mesa/Nisqualli Interchange back in 2013, we welcomed in an alternative to the then heavily-congested Bear Val­ley Road. At the time, Bear Valley car­ried more vehicles per day than Inter­state 15, and as a result commuters and businesses felt the impact during peak hours…which at that time represented most of the day. Today, because of La Mesa/Nisqualli, traffic on Bear Valley Road is manageable and people can ac­cess their destinations more effectively and efficiently.

About a year later, Victorville’s neigh­bor to the south, Hesperia, was also joined by SANBAG to usher in the new Ranchero Road Interchange. Couple this project with the Ranchero Road Rail­road Underpass to the east, and residents of this growing community were able to have better access to and from Interstate 15. Prior to the interchange comple­tion, Main Street carried practically theentire traffic burden for commuters try­ing to get to the interstate. Much like Bear Valley Road, the congestion relief experienced after the completion of the interchange was a welcomed sight for commuters and businesses alike.

And, just as time matters to us as com­muters, it matters to our economy as well. San Bernardino County serves as the gateway to and from the rest of the nation for the various goods that come in and out of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Much of that is via truck, but equally important is how we keep freight moving on our rail lines as well. Last year we opened the Lenwood Road Grade Separation project which represents just that…a moving economy. Hundreds of trains pass through that community daily and now they can do so even more efficiently. Sometimes overlooked is the fact that grade separa­tion projects help the local community as well. Improved traffic circulation, enhanced response times for emergency service providers, and less noise are all positive by-products of this investment into the region.

Moving forward, finding ways to con­nect east and west continues to be a crit­ical challenge for our region. SANBAG is actively working with the County of San Bernardino, the Town of Apple Val­ley, and the City of Victorville to tackle the funding needs for a complete Yucca Loma Corridor. This three-pronged ap­proach has already seen major strides toward connecting the eastern portion of the High Desert to Interstate 15. The Yucca Loma Bridge and Yates Road widening are complete and construction to widen Yucca Loma Road, the eastern leg of the corridor to Apple Valley, is underway.

Our transportation partners at the Cali­fornia Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have kicked off the reconstruction of the “D” and “E” Street in­terchanges. This all started as part of a two-phase project to widen Interstate 15 between Victorville and Barstow almost two decades ago. The work underway will reconstruct these two interchanges and widen the Mojave River Bridge so that the freeway median and shoulders can be brought up to federal standards. This will enhance the safety and opera­tions of the freeway and also improve the overall driver experience in this area.

Perhaps the most significant SANBAG/Caltrans partnership is the nearly com­pleted Interstate 15/Interstate 215 Dev­ore Interchange Project. This approxi­mately $300 million project was part of an innovative delivery design-build pilot program that enabled the project team to develop and build it more than a year ahead of schedule compared to the typi­cal process. When complete (a public ceremony was held May 20th), drivers will now be able enjoy the multiple en­hancements that were constructed in one of the most used corridors in our county. The relationship between Interstate 15 and Interstate 215 will be modified to make for seamless transitions that will greatly reduce the weaving of passenger vehicles and heavy trucks. Trucks will be using newly constructed truck by-pass lanes and passenger vehicles using the I-15 fast lane to get up and down the pass will stay in the fast lane as they transition through Glen Helen, Fontana, and Rancho Cucamonga.

In addition, wider lanes, improved ramps, and enhanced bridges will make for a better drive and more efficient commute for the nearly one million vehicle trips through the pass weekly. Route 66 which runs parallel to I-15, will be re­connected, providing an alternate route when needed and improve overall fire and public safety response times.

Couple the Devore Interchange Proj­ect completion with the concurrently scheduled completion of the Caltrans Cajon Pass Project that is rehabilitat­ing concrete lanes on I-15 between the summit and State Route 138, and com­muters, recreational travelers, and other users of the system will experience an improved transportation system that re­duces travel times and increases access to and from the High Desert.

Economy General Politics

San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency Improving the Job Prospects of Residents

Published by:

By Mary Jane Olhasso, Assistant Executive Officer, County of San Bernardino

One of the most rewarding aspects of the San Bernardino County Economic De­velopment Agency’s work is improving the job prospects of residents. Work­ing with the business community on relocation and expansion opportunities and implementing proactive workforce development programs are just some of the ways the agency makes an impact. Moreover, the department’s efforts are augmented by valuable partners in edu­cation, investment and real estate who work in collaboration to ensure job cre­ation opportunities.

A great example now being led by edu­cation partners is the implementation of a nearly $15 millon grant awarded to Chaffey College and the Inland Empire Regional Training Consortium (IERTC) in 2014. The competitive grant was awarded by the Trade Adjustment As­sistance Community College and Ca­reer Training (TAACCCT), which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education, to improve manufacturing training for the Inland Empire. The IERTC includes 10 community colleges, 2-four-year universities, and the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire as well as several faith-based and community or­ganizations.

In March Chaffey and the consortium celebrated the opening of the Industri­al Technical Learning Center (InTech Center) located on the campus of Cali­fornia Steel Industries (CSI) that will train thousands of workers in advanced manufacturing, advanced transporta­tion, logistics, energy and utilities, as well as computer/ICT/digital media. These programs are conducted at no or low cost to employers and employees, thanks to the TAACCCT grant.

Through TAACCT funding, Barstow Community College now offers a low-cost, two-year plan in Industrial Main­tenance Mechanic Technology. This program offers National Center for Construction Education and Research(NCCER) stackable certificates. Bar­stow offers this program at a lower cost compared to similar programs offered at private colleges.

These programs and others are true job creation successes. California Steel ac­cepted five Barstow Community College students into their paid internship program over the last several years and a few have stayed on to become full-time California Steel employees. A number of other companies have partnered with Barstow Community College, either by recruitment, placement, advisory, or donations, including: NRG Energy, Abengoa Solar, Rio Tinto, Trinity Con­struction, National Training Center-Fort Irwin, Marine Corps Logistics Base, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Another example of how community colleges are increasing job prospects is the work being done by Victor Valley College. The Welding Department at Victor Valley College has been an ac­tive department in the community for more than 35 years as a Los Angeles Certified Testing Facility for the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, an American Welding Society Certified S.E.N.S.E educational facil­ity, and a Fabricator and Manufacturers Association International Educational partner. Today, the Victor Valley Weld­ing department has evolved into a robust program that has placed students throughout the years with government agencies such as NASA, the Naval Nuclear Submarine Assembly dock in Virginia, and the Marine Corp Logistics Base in Yermo. It has served as a pre-employment testing facility for Northwest Pipe and Cas­ing, partnered with local industry to create intern­ships and pathways, and is continually working to provide students with job placement opportunities.

Thanks to additional funds, Victor Val­ley’s successful Welding department will expand its training in metal forming and fabrication with the planned addi­tion of space and resources. Construc­tion will begin on their new facility, which is slated to be completed by the end of this year.

The efforts of Barstow Community Col­lege, Victor Valley College and InTech Center are all part of a collaborative solutions-oriented effort to provide an economic boost to the county by provid­ing new skills to workers who are then able to quickly fill jobs in manufactur­ing, distribution and related technology sectors.

The Economic Development Agency has also been focused on a manufac­turing initiative that builds awareness of the county’s advantages for manu­facturing businesses: it identifies opportunities for manufacturers outside the county to consider expansion or relocation to the county; identifies obstacles to expansion of existing county busi­nesses; and informs busi­nesses about workforce incentives and programs.

The team has already reached out to nearly 1,000 unique manufac­turing companies, result­ing in more than 258 direct contacts that allowed staff to share information on the benefits of San Bernardino County. More than 90 of those contacts were sent follow-up let­ters and general cost com­parisons for manufactur­ing in San Bernardino vs. Los Angeles or Orange County. This effort will continue throughout this year.

The department also hosted educational workshops in collaboration with other partners, provided resources to educate and prepare local manufacturing busi­nesses that are interested in exporting or expanding their export base, and en­gaged in business-to-business match­making meetings, both locally and in other countries. Additionally, the county is participating in the Advanced Manu­facturing Partnership’s (AMP SoCal) efforts with USC Center for Economic Development as the lead agency to pro­mote and support the aerospace and de­fense industry in Southern California.

These multiple outreach efforts and the progress to date will continue to posi­tion this region as a premier choice, especially in Southern California, for new investment and job creation.

General Politics

Energy Disclosure In California Has Bumpy Road

Published by:

By Marika Erdely, Founder and CEO of Green EconoME

AB 1103, which was in effect during 2014 and 2015, was repealed on Oc­tober 8, 2015, to eliminate energy dis­closure requirements as of 12/31/2015. As you may recall, AB 1103 required all sales, refinance and single tenant leases of buildings exceeding 10,000 sq. ft. to disclose their energy usage prior to the signing of financial docu­ments.

The California Energy Commission (CEC), who administers this law, stat­ed that one of the reasons to repeal AB 1103 was that the utilities were having difficulty accessing energy usage in multi-tenant buildings due to privacy laws. All meter rate payers own their energy usage unless they give authori­zation to release it. Therefore, a build­ing owner would not have access to tenant data in order to comply with AB 1103, and in multi-meter situa­tions (retail, some commercial) it was even more difficult to attain this infor­mation. Therefore, an accurate energy disclosure was impossible to produce. The CEC also stated that compliance was limited, most likely because no enforcement of the law occurred, and many building owners took the chance and did not comply. The CEC decided to repeal the entire law and to start all over.

AB 802, California’s new Energy Dis­closure Law, ini­tially focuses on the utilities requirement to provide aggre­gated energy usage data, also known as ‘whole building data’. This would require the entire building’s energy usage, common area and tenant meters to be downloaded into the EPA’s En­ergy Star Portfolio Manager Software as one number. This eliminates any isis­sues with privacy. The new law also eliminates the building owner’s re­sponsibility to disclose the data when involved in a financial transaction. In current form, buildings over 50,000 sq. ft., including multi-family, will be required to disclose their energy us­age on an annual usage, with it being a public disclosure within a year of re­porting.

Recently, CEC held a workshop on AB 802’s progress, and showed this timeline for implementation (see be­low):

With this tentative timeline, commer­cial building energy disclosure is be­ing delayed, yet again to April 1, 2018 and multi-family disclosure would be­gin a year later on April 1, 2019. Let’s not hold our breath anticipating these dates, as the asterisk gives a clear pic­ture that this is probably not going to happen.

In regards to enforcement, AB 802 does provide for enforcement mecha­nisms to impose a civil fine, but we have yet to see what form this will be.

Los Angeles and its Energy Disclo­sure Law is Moving Forward

The City of Los Angeles is also con­sidering an Energy and Water disclosure ordinance for existing build­ings (www.laexistingbuildings.org). We learned that the new ordinance had been drafted and sent to the City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee during April 2016 for ap­proval. Plans for implementation are set to begin during 2017.

California Tentative Program Timeline 1

The current Energy Benchmarking Compliance Proposal to include:

  • Starting 2016 – City-owned build­ings > 7,500 ft.
  • Starting 2017 – all buildings > 50,000 ft.
  • Starting 2018 – all buildings > 25,000 ft.
  • Starting 2019 – all buildings > 10,000 ft. This size building is a sticking point, and the new ordi­nance may not drop to this level.

The Los Angeles disclosure will also require energy and water efficiency retrofits if buildings do not meet a certain level of energy or water effi­ciency. LA’s energy disclosure infor­mation will also become public one year after compliance begins. There will be penalties and fines levied for non-compliance. It is assumed that the County of Los Angeles and its neigh­boring cities will also follow suit and implement their own version of an En­ergy Disclosure law once Los Angeles signs their law into place.

Why is Energy Disclosure Important and Why Should You Care?

If all you do each month is grumble about your electricity bill but have no idea if these charges are reason­able for your building and its use, why wouldn’t you want to know how your building stands compared to similar buildings? Benchmarking a building in the EPA’s Portfolio Manager Soft­ware provides this knowledge.

If you knew that the energy usage was extreme (low Energy Star score or high Energy Use Intensity (EUI)), wouldn’t you take steps to reduce these costs? It is like everything else in life: if you know you are over-spending, you make changes. Why should it be any different with energy costs?

Energy Disclosure provides this data, especially if you further analyze the energy usage data and costs and pro­duce financial graphic analysis to understand the financial metrics, like Green EconoME prepares. As every­one says, big data is valuable.

So once you know your building is inefficient, retrofitting your lighting with LEDs is the easiest way to cap­ture the ‘low hanging fruit’ and pos­sibly reduce your total energy kWh by 15-20% and your lighting kWh by 60%. Providing HVAC control with new wireless thermostats can provide even more cost savings by easily man­aging schedules and reducing con­sumption in unoccupied spaces with door and occupancy sensors. These retrofits will reduce your building’s kW demand and kWh usage and you can save big.

Utility incentives can help reduce the cost of the retrofits, along with ac­celerated depreciation and various fi­nancing methods, including Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE).

How does the Building Code affect all of this?

California’s Title 24, the Building Code related to energy will be up­dated again in early 2017. It is impor­tant to note that the goal of Title 24 is to build to Zero Net Energy (ZNE) standards for residential construction by 2020 and commercial (including multi-family) by 2030. What is ZNE? Simply, a building’s energy consump­tion is offset by its energy generation during an annual period to have a zero net effect.

With the goal to build ZNE for com­mercial by 2030, the CEC hopes to have 50% of the current existing building stock to be ZNE by 2030 as well. This appears to be a good but lofty goal since most building own­ers have no idea how their building stands in regards to energy efficiency. Which brings us back to the question­able decision to eliminate AB 1103. Why eliminate a law that provided this knowledge to the building owner? Re­pealing the law that provides insight needed to drive towards ZNE seems to be counterintuitive. We find this step by the CEC a detriment to the goal of ZNE.

Market Valuations to Take Note

It is also important to note that Energy Disclosure is closely tied to market valuations. If a building’s operating costs are lower, this provides for high­er valuation in the market value of the building. Cap rates are obviously af­fected by operating costs. Energy Star and LEED Certifications can provide the labeling for this higher valuation.

Should you wish to know more about Energy Disclosure and how your building can consume less energy, feel free to contact Marika Erdely at 818. 681.5750 or Marika@greeneconome.com.

Marika is Founder and CEO of Green EconoME (www.greeneconome.com), a full service Energy Consulting firm located in Pacific Palisades. She is a Certified Energy Auditor (CEA), a LEED AP BD+C, and holds an MBA from Pepperdine University. Marika was formerly the CFO for New Mil­lennium Homes, the master developer for The Oaks of Calabasas. Marika’s background is deep in financial analy­sis and the desire to understand how new technologies can reduce energy consumption. Green EconoME holds a License B (#10001368), is a VAR for Daintree Networks (lighting and HVAC control) and is an Energy Star Partner.

General Politics

Congressman Paul Cook Leads the Charge for National Security

Published by:

By Col. Paul Cook (Ret.), U.S. Congressman, 8th Congressional District

Our nation is faced with a litany of challenges, both at home and abroad. As your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, here’s an update on the important work I’m doing on behalf of my constituents.

Strengthening our national security in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack is my top priority in Congress. My colleagues and I in the House have and will continue to pres­sure the administration to increase the screening of refugees from Iraq and Syria. The Security Against For­eign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which I supported, is an integral step towards this end. We need to remain vigilant in our screening process to ensure that ISIS doesn’t exploit weaknesses in our immigration system.

In addition to the SAFE Act, I re­cently supported the Counterterror­ism Screening, and Assistance Act of 2016. This bill, which passed in the House, tightens border security screening abroad, mandates a re­port card to assess the border secu­rity of foreign countries, establishes minimum border security standards, and withholds foreign assistance for countries that don’t meet border secu­rity standards. Improving our allies’ capacity and increasing coordination will improve our national security by mitigating potential threats before they reach our soil.

While our national security needs are significant, we must do more to put the federal government’s fiscal house in order. Put simply, the U.S .is amassing a crushing burden of debt. Under current policies, the def­icit will continue to climb to historic levels. The total debt has doubled to nearly $19 trillion since the current administration took office in 2008.

To address this troubling level of debt, House Republicans and I are fighting for the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act to be enacted into law. This important measure requires the President and his administration to appear before Congress prior to each potential debt limit increase and provide testimony and detailed reports including reduc­tion proposals and progress on debt reduction. It also establishes shared legislative-executive responsibil­ity for a clearly defined debt reduc­tion plan. If we are going to tackle the largest fiscal problem our nation faces, we must have a roadmap in place.

Recently, the House Budget Com­mittee approved a plan to reduce the deficit by $7 trillion, balance the na­tion’s budget within 10 years, and put the country on a path to eventu­ally pay off the national debt. I’m hopeful in the coming months we will see a responsible budget pass the House and Senate—one that puts our fiscal house in order and protects national security. We owe it to the next generation to leave them a debt-free, stronger, safer America. That will certainly continue to be my pri­ority as your Congressman.

If you’d like more information re­garding the work I’m doing in Con­gress, please visit my website at cook.house.gov and sign up for my weekly e-newsletter. You may also contact my Apple Valley district at 760.247.1815 to learn more.

General Politics

Prop 13 is Safe, For Now

Published by:

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte

By Assemblyman Jay Obernolte

In 2015 several ballot initiatives aimed at undermining Proposition 13 were pro­posed by labor groups and other special interests. As of today none of those initia­tives will be on the 2016 ballot. This is a victory for homeowners, small businesses and taxpayers. However, we must remain vigilant if we want to prevent any future undermining of Prop 13.

Proposition 13, or the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, as it was offi­cially named, was a constitutional amend­ment that limited the rate of property tax increases on residential and commercial properties. It also put in place protections against future tax increases by requiring a 2/3rds vote of the state legislature to in­crease taxes, as well as a 2/3rds majority in local elections to impose local tax in­creases.

Since its passage, many groups have tried to weaken the protections of Propo­sition 13. Some want to lower the thresh­old of the 2/3rds vote, making it easier to raise taxes. Others want to create a “split roll” so commercial properties have their property values reassessed annually. Both of these would be disastrous to taxpayers and negatively impact our economy.

2016 was thought to be the year in which Prop 13 would come under siege due to the fact that the number of signatures re­quired to place an initiative on the ballot is lower than it has been in recent elections because of decreasing voter turnout. How­ever, with an extension to the Proposition 30 tax increases likely to be placed before voters in 2016, it appears that the special interests who are looking to raise taxes think it may hurt their case if too many tax increases appear on the ballot.

While Proposition 13 appears to be safefor another two years, I would encourage everyone to remain vigilant against future initiatives that would undermine taxpayer protections. I pledge to do the same in the State Assembly.

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte represents the 33rd Assembly District in the Califor­nia State Legislature. Since being elected to the State Assembly, he has earned 100% ratings from both the Howard Jarvis Tax­payers Association and the California Taxpayers Association for his legislative record. In 2015 he authored AB 809, a bill sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Tax­payers Association and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, which required all tax increases placed before the vot­ers on a ballot be clearly labeled as a tax increase. AB 809 was widely praised as a measure to protect taxpayers from mis­leading ballot propositions.

Economy General Politics

Taxable Parcels Increase in Value Due to Existing Home Sales

Published by:

By Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County Assessor

In June 2015 the assessment roll contained 820,314 taxable parcels and was valued at $186,894,462,703, which represented a 5.077% net in­crease as compared to the 2014 as­sessment roll. Our office reported that the primary reasons for the in­crease in value were sales of existing homes, Proposition 8 recovery of as­sessed values, and the Proposition 13 Consumer Price Index adjustment. New construction also contributed to the increase but to a lesser degree.

The 2015 assessment roll finally reached and surpassed the previous high achieved in 2008 before the collapse of the real estate market. Three of the cities with the highest increases were all located in the High Desert, including Hesperia at 7.8 %, Victorville at 6.7 %, and Adelanto at 6.5%.

When looking at historic trends for the High Desert, we see that the as­sessment roll for all cities is increas­ing since the drop in values experi­enced in 2009. The upward trend is a positive sign and many of the same drivers for the County as a whole are responsible for the upward trend in the High Desert. In general, peo­ple are taking advantage of the af­fordability of homes in the market. Moreover, little of this upward trend is due to new construction. Approximately 12 % of the increase was due to construction, unlike the 2006-2007 valuations when 60 % of the value increase was due to new con­struction.

This bodes well for the High Des­ert. While I am optimistic about the region, the greatest need is for new business start-ups. Based on person­al experience over the course of my career, I think the greatest judge of a healthy economy is small business growth.

The High Desert has all the right components for healthy growth, such as low cost land, affordable homes, basic infrastructure, and a pro-busi­ness approach from the County and High Desert cities. I think the re­newable energy opportunities that are unique to the region are another benefit to business growth.

Looking back over the course of my career in both the private and public sectors, I was fortunate to have par­ticipated in encouraging: the redevel­opment of Ontario Motor Speedway, which ultimately became Ontario Mills; the development of Victoria Gardens; expansion of Ontario Inter­national Airport; and the billions of dollars invested in goods movement and transportation infrastructure for the Inland Empire, as well as help­ing to bring Amazon to our region. All of these projects are significant long-term catalysts for ongoing eco­nomic growth and development opportunity.

Now I look at the current trends and believe that the future is bright, espe­cially because our County, including the Assessor’s department, is com­mitted to delivering a friendly and fair business environment. This is all part of my work to help San Ber­nardino County be recognized as the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Values and Parcel counts By Roll Year and High Desert City

Values and Parcel Counts By Roll Year and High Desert City