California Capitol Watch: City Council to Consider 2021 Legislative Platform

On the agenda for the upcoming, February 16th, Davis City Council meeting is consideration of a resolution authorizing the adoption of a 2021 Legislative Platform (Item 6). The proposed Platform was developed by a Council Legislative Subcommittee consisting of Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs and Councilmember Dan Carson, in consultation with City Manager Mike Webb. The proposed Platform consists of the following priority issues (described in more detail in the staff report and attached Resolution).

  • Infrastructure Bills. Proposed bills that address funding for infrastructure needs, including funding for broadband.
  • COVID Assistance. Continue to look for opportunities to encourage Congress and the State to assist cities that need flexible COVID assistance, particularly direct assistance to cities Davis’ size.
  • Sales Tax Legislation. Continue to track sales tax legislation, particularly as it relates to internet sales.
  • RHNA Process. The City will continue to advocate and engage with our State representatives on legislation and administrative rules related the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), particularly with respect to the types of housing units that are more unique to college communities.
  • I-80 Corridor. Continue to be directly engaged and support Caltrans’ efforts to implement the Yolo I-80 Corridor Improvement Project.
  • Affordable Housing Bills. Monitor bills related to affordable housing, as well as SB 5.
  • Housing Streamlining. Monitor and consider support for efforts by the League of Cities, SACOG, and the State Legislature to seek expedited judicial review and CEQA streamlining for housing projects that meet with local and regional policy priorities.
  • ACA 1. Support ACA 1, a Constitutional Amendment, authored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar Curry, to lower the necessary voter threshold from a two-thirds supermajority to 55% to approve local general obligation bonds and special taxes for affordable housing and public infrastructure projects.
  • Unfunded Mandates. Review the general topic of unfunded State mandates to determine if there are areas where the City should take a position or reach out to legislators.
  • SB 1383 Funding. Support grant and funding opportunities that provide resources to implement the state mandated SB 1383, which deals with food waste diversion, organic waste, and the reduction of greenhouse gases.
  • Grant Funding. In general, seek opportunities to support grants or funding that address needs identified in the City’s Comprehensive Funding Plan for grants.
  • SACOG’s Green Means Go initiative. The City will continue to advocate for and support the SACOG Green Means Go pilot program funding effort, including any related policy bills and budget action.
  • Valley Clean Energy. The city will support legislative efforts to help VCE, our local clean power agency, in which the City of Davis is a partner, to overcome legislative and regulatory challenges that could slow its progress.

As noted in the staff report, other issues may arise over the course of the year that would benefit from the review of the Legislative Subcommittee. The Subcommittee will review bills and other items related to legislation that may be of interest to the City and make recommendations as to whether they should be included in the Legislative Platform.

The Legislature’s 2021 bill introduction deadline for non-urgency bills is February 19th.


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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40 Comments

  1. Keith Olsen

    ACA 1. Support ACA 1, a Constitutional Amendment, authored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar Curry, to lower the necessary voter threshold from a two-thirds supermajority to 55% to approve local general obligation bonds and special taxes for affordable housing and public infrastructure projects.

    So already highly taxed homeowners should prepare themselves to pay even higher taxes.
    Homeowners, the ATM machine for cities and counties.

        1. David Greenwald

          Everyone has skin in the game. But if you want to go there, isn’t the more fair approach limit property tax votes to property owners? After all, your vote shouldn’t be worth twice someone else in town who also owns property, should it? Or maybe you calibrate it so Bill Gates gets 10 times the vote as you do, since he has ten times the skin in the game? Where we do draw the line when it comes to putting the thumb on the scale? Why is this system a fair system when it ends up hamstringing local government?

        2. Keith Olsen

          At what point does it end?  Taxes will just keep getting piled on homeowners to the point where they can no longer afford their homes.  At least with the 2/3’s threshold homeowners had a chance.

        3. Keith Olsen

          After all, your vote shouldn’t be worth twice someone else in town who also owns property, should it? 

          What are you talking about here?  Their votes are worth the same.

          What happens in any city where the vast majority of people are renters and a huge burdensome parcel tax is proposed that will be easily passed by the non-taxed majority?  Talk about a fixed system.

        4. Matt Williams

          Keith, I believe you are making an un supportable assumption, specifically that renters do not bear the economic burden (pay) property taxes.

          Landlords clearly tally up all their expenses before determining the rent they are going to charge their tenants.  When any of their costs go up (taxes or otherwise), they adjust rents upward to cover those increased costs.  So renters pay taxes just like you as an owner-occupant do.  They simply pay those taxes indirectly while homeowners pay them directly.

          Arguably, taking away renters’ right to vote on Parcel Taxes would be taxation without representation.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  That would depend upon how a parcel tax is administered (e.g., if it’s the same for an entire multi-unit apartment building, as it is for a single-family dwelling).

          Also, whether or not Affordable units (in whatever form) might be exempt.

          If all residential units were charged the same amount, that might be closer to an “entirely-fair” outcome – regardless of whether or not they are rented. But, I understand that this often isn’t the case.

        6. Keith Olsen

          A single dwelling homeowner pays the same parcel tax as a 100 unit apartment complex.  So if it does get passed down an apartment renter in my example will pay 100 times less than the homeowner.

        7. Matt Williams

          Keith, I believe you need to research your statement, which may be correct for some Parcel Taxes, but not for all Parcel Taxes.  Many Parcel taxes, probably the vast majority of them, are levied by the residence.

          Regardless of the multiplier, the principle of taxation without representation does apply.

          With that said, if I understood the point that David made earlier correctly, he was in effect saying that (much like it does in a Proposition 218 vote) voting rights go with property rather than with individuals.  So if an individual owns multiple properties in en election jurisdiction, then they get the same number of multiple votes.  Own one property, you get one vote.  Own two properties, you get two votes. Own no properties, you get no vote.  That appeared to be the slippery slope that you were sliding down.

        8. Keith Olsen

          Own one property, you get one vote.  Own two properties, you get two votes. 

          I don’t believe you are correct here.  If one votes they only get one vote per election.  Votes are not tabulated according to how many homes one owns.

        9. Bill Marshall

          In my opinion, David, KO’s comment was a tad snarky (no surprise)… your response @ 8:11 was petulant, and unnecessarily aggressive (not a big surprise)… consider drafting a response, the self-moderating…

          I’ve tried to be rational, at least in this thread…

          As to ‘tax burden’ that is real to some, ‘philosophical’ to most… so both you and Keith are missing the main issues… and I fully expect both of you to attack that assessment (pun unintended)…

    1. Ron Glick

      “So already highly taxed homeowners …”

      Highly taxed is a relative term. If you have been in your home a long time you are likely undertaxed in California. Was recently looking at a 45 year old house in Davis on Zillow. Its 2018 tax assessment was $1800. It was listed for $800,000. That is a o.225% tax rate. Hard to call that overtaxed.

  2. Bill Marshall

    My two (or 3) cents…

    67% (two-thirds) was the brainchild of Paul Gann, who pretty openly just hated gov’t, as well as taxes…

    60% is the margin needed to pass an ordinance/law/policy in Davis, and most Cities and Counties.

    55% is too convenient, for folk who never met a tax they didn’t like others to pay …

    I will write CAC today to strongly suggest that 60% is the right #… not 55%, not 67%…

    If folk do not contact her and Dodd, regarding what you think the # should be, don’t whine about the outcome.

     

  3. Ron Oertel

    Ron G:  Highly taxed is a relative term. If you have been in your home a long time you are likely undertaxed in California. Was recently looking at a 45 year old house in Davis on Zillow. Its 2018 tax assessment was $1800. It was listed for $800,000. That is a o.225% tax rate. Hard to call that overtaxed.

    Keith:  Nice cherrypicked example.  How about a person who bought a house recently for $800,000?

    Wouldn’t this same situation occur with a long-term apartment building owner, vs. a brand-new apartment building?

    The only difference being that the difference is MASSIVE (due to the relative value of a single-family dwelling, vs. the value of an entire apartment building)?

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Wouldn’t this same situation occur with a long-term apartment building owner, vs. a brand-new apartment building?

      Yes, it would… interesting you focused on “housing”… same is true of ANY commercial property, but you neglect to point that out… whatever…

      SF housing is re-assessed upon sale… commercial property owners have found a currently legal way around that… by transferring ownership interests below the 50% threshold… so, by using partnerships, other devices, a property can go from one owner to another, over a 3-year period, with no reassessment… a legal scam… this is why I voted for the “split-roll”…

      Business wins, SF homeowners lose… liberals refuse to acknowledge this, conservatives love it!  Conservatives can say they (homeowners) are being overtaxed, and ignore the commercial side… liberals/progressives see no over-taxation on SF side, yet vote against the abuses by the ‘commercial’ side.

      Neither positions are honest, transparent, nor truthful…

      1. Ron Oertel

        Yes – I was aware that it also applies to other commercial properties, as well as the general information regarding the “scam” that you describe.

        I suspect that we’ll soon see another attempt to create a split-roll property tax arrangement (between commercial, vs. residential).  I am not sure if that will include apartment buildings, but I suspect that it would.

      2. Ron Oertel

        By the way, Bill – I think your analysis is spot-on, regarding this issue.

        I expect that quite a bit of money will be spent (on both sides), if/when this issue appears on the ballot again.

        (Somehow, I’m thinking of Trump’s comment regarding people on “both sides”, regarding an entirely different issue.)

  4. Don Shor

    Yes, property taxes are unfair. Prop 13 made them more unfair. Sales taxes are unfair, too.

    If the conservatives posting here would let us know which types of taxation they are ok with, consider fair, and would support being increased by majority vote, that would be helpful to the discussion. I’m assuming that they oppose capital gains taxes, and inheritance taxes, so that pretty much leaves personal income taxes. Ok with increasing those?

    As far as I can tell, conservatives opposed all tax increases of all types of taxes.

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      If the conservatives posting here would let us know which types of taxation they are ok with, consider fair, and would support being increased by majority vote, that would be helpful to the discussion.

      Simple answer… none… if it affects them.  They hide it under the guise of “concern for others”… as Paul Gann did.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Not necessarily… apportionment of funds are completely a purview of an agency… so, to fully fund, or increase funding for PD, reduced revenue could come from ANY reduction in GF revenue expenditures… FD, PW, any city department… only requires a 60% vote, locally… Police  could get a 200% increase in funding… but, like a balloon, to make a side push out, you have push in on another… ‘ear-marked’ funds tend to be a ‘joke’… more funding specifically called for in a measure, can be used to reduce other GF, and re-directed elsewhere… has, and probably will again, be done, as in Sacto Co…  Covid assistance from the Feds… replaced GF money going to Health, diverted to Sheriffs Office…  that’s for reals… even when it’s ‘ear-marked’… an inconvenient truth…

          Other entities, including, but not necessarily limited to, DJUSD, City of Davis, County of Yolo. State of California… have all done the same… at one point or another…

        2. Keith Olsen

          We could get rid of all the taxes Keith doesn’t think are reasonable but then we would be defunding the police.

          Ronny G, feel free to pay all the taxes you like.  I’m sure the city will be more than happy to take your check.

    2. Chris Griffith

      If the conservatives posting here would let us know which types of taxation they are ok with, consider fair, and would support being increased by majority

      I would like to throw out the idea of it just having a simple consumption tax

      I would like to see it so  a young person could keep more of their hard earn dollar I would also like to see food and utilities non taxable  I would like to see it to where young people could save money to where they don’t have to pay taxes on capital gains so they will invest money for their future I’d like to see their interest that they keep in the bank is non taxable.

      I’m very sure that this idea has a lot of flaws but I think they could be worked through

       

       

      1. Don Shor

        I would like to throw out the idea of it just having a simple consumption tax

        Value-added tax runs 20% – 25% or more on top of the existing sales tax rate (just ask your friends from Europe what they pay). It’s certainly easy to implement: you just pay the retailer or service provider for it. Flat tax rates are generally considered regressive in having disparate impact on lower-income taxpayers. Even people who don’t make enough to have to pay income taxes generally end up paying VAT.

        1. Chris Griffith

          Value-added tax runs 20% – 25% or more on top of the existing sales tax rate 

          It sure sounds like you know a lot about this more than I do but why couldn’t that 20 or 25% be modified satisfy everyone.

          It would be nice if other people chimed in any of their added to or tear this idea apart

    3. Chris Griffith

       

       

      I found out that women don’t pay taxes on tampons plus according to an article here on the Davis Vanguard the damn things are made out of plastic and that’s not environmentally correct so I think we need to impose a big massive tax on tampons it would definitely help us out tax wise and it also help us save the planet.

       

       

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        Unfortunately, your comment inspired me to read the article that you referenced (but had skipped-over, until this point).  And I’m now sorry that I’ve read it. 

        By the way, “what is it with these commenters, anyway”? 🙂

  5. Chris Griffith

    And one more thing that I would love to have that’s always bug the hell out of me

    All certificates of participation (COP) need to be voter approved just like a bond measure and that includes for all school districts cities counties and special districts.

     

  6. Chris Griffith

    Mr. Shoe
    I like your idea of bringing up taxes maybe later on someone can construct a nice article and represent this idea later on on the Vanguard because all that stuff you bring up will eventually have to be confronted

  7. Ron Glick

    “Ronny G, feel free to pay all the taxes you like.  I’m sure the city will be more than happy to take your check.”

    You should try my method. For income taxes I have this guy who figures it out for me. He tells me what I owe. I go ugh, and write the check. Then I forget about it until the next check is due. Then I repeat the cycle.

    As for property taxes, the county sends me a bill. I go ugh, write the check and forget about it until next year.

    I let it go with a single “ugh” with each payment. I find it quite therapeutic. It is definitely better than spending my entire life being angry about paying taxes.

  8. Bill Marshall

    I would like to throw out the idea of it just having a simple consumption tax

    On a lighter note:

    “TB or not TB… that is the congestion… can something be done?  Of corpse, of corpse…”

    Seriously, depends what one means about ‘consumption’… sales tax, excise taxes already address that, at least in part… you’d exclude food?  Utilities?  Both of which are ‘consumed’.

    Sales tax generally doesn’t apply to basic food… utilities (at least local ones) should generally not charge excise ‘taxes’ on top of consumption, but how else to slow down “pigs at the trough”?  Some folk have, and are, “consuming” much more utility services beyond their “share”, because they can afford the lower rates… requiring ‘conservation’ by those that don’t go beyond “their share”…

     

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