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    Perry Smith
    Thursday, March 21, 2013
    School's Back In Session: Education Bills to Watch in 2013 While most schools in California are getting ready for their annual spring break, Sacramento is busy discussing bills that could shape the future of education in the state. Legislators have introduced more than 500 bills that focus on education and schools and VICA is tracking the bills of particular interest and importance to our members and the business community. Here are five bills that could drastically change the next school years to come: Read more
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    Doug Arseneault
    Thursday, March 14, 2013
    Zoom, Zoom: Transportation Bills to Watch in 2013 February 22 marked the headline for state bills to be introduced, and brought with it a slew of new bills for the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) to watch. More than 2,200 bills were introduced, with about 600 of interest to VICA. Some are particularly innovative – representative of the 39 freshman assemblymembers that took office this year. Others are potential hazardous to our fragile economy – as Democratic supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate make it easier for our elected officials to pass legislation. Read more
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    Doug Arseneault
    Friday, March 8, 2013
    Last year, labor unions and employers came together to reform California’s workers’ compensation system. The legislative package closed loopholes in the system, in order to ensure that it operated more efficiently with fewer disputes and litigation. In exchange for these employer protections, the bill provided injured workers with nearly $1 billion in benefit increases. Now, a legislator is trying to eliminate the cornerstone cost-saving provision of last year’s reform package – independent medical review (IMR). Read more
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    Perry Smith
    Thursday, March 7, 2013
    Water is vital to every business in this state; it is the lifeblood of California’s economy. That is why we need to work to make our imported supplies more reliable, while also exploring local options, like stormwater capture. Stormwater capture is a basic idea: When it rains, we need to be able to capture that water, store it and then use it later. Today, about half the rain water in Southern California that could be used to replenish groundwater basins and increase local water supplies ends up turning into polluted stormwater runoff. Read more
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    Doug Arseneault
    Thursday, February 28, 2013
    Businesses operating in the City of Los Angeles are victim to an egregious tax system. Devised during the Great Depression, the gross receipts tax literally charges companies for any engagement in city commerce, including both purchases and sales without consideration for losses. The outdated system is a major disincentive for start-up businesses, expansion of existing businesses, and those outside the city considering relocation to Los Angeles. Read more
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    Doug Arseneault
    Friday, February 8, 2013
    The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was hailed to be landmark environmental protection legislation when it was passed in 1970. Unfortunately, its worthy purpose has been distortedby competing developers, special interests and neighborhood groups that block development for personal, economic and political gain. It has even become an obstacle to smart growth legislation, such as 2008’s groundbreaking transit-oriented development legislation, SB 375 (Steinberg) and 2006’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions strategy, AB 32 (Pavley). Read more
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    Doug Arseneault
    Friday, February 1, 2013
    While most of the world conjures up images of Hollywood when they think of film and television production, VICA recognizes filming is a vital part of our entire region’s economy. Unfortunately, our state is suffering from the phenomenon known as runaway production—filming being lured away from California to other states by generous tax incentives. This exodus of California’s staple industry means lost jobs and subdued economic activity at a time when the state needs both desperately. To address this issue, Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) has introduced a bill (AB 3) to extend and/or expand the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program. Read more
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    Doug Arseneault
    Friday, January 25, 2013
    Government agencies in California are out of control. Every year, they add new rules to the plethora of burdensome regulations that hurt California residents and businesses. Meanwhile, existing regulations are reviewed rarely, if ever. While an analysis is required when a new regulation is proposed, current law only requires a regulation to be reviewed “from time to time.” This lack of specificity allows a subset of unelected bureaucrats to impose essentially permanent laws that cost Californians millions of dollars every year. Read more
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    Doug Arseneault
    Friday, January 18, 2013
    As the new state legislative session begins, yet another attempt to raise the minimum wage has been proposed. Currently, the state minimum wage is $8.25 – the fourth highest in the nation. Under Assembly Bill 10 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), the state minimum wage jumps to $8.75 in 2015 and then $9.25 in 2016. Within two years, California becomes the state with the highest minimum wage. And there’s more. In addition to the prescribed increases, the bill calls for additional increases every year thereafter in relation to inflation. Perhaps the most disturbing provision is that the new method of minimum wage calculation under AB 10 specifically does not account for deflation. This means that regardless of economic conditions—such as a recession—the minimum wage would remain at boom highs. Read more
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    Perry Smith
    Monday, January 7, 2013
    The LA Times staff writer, Jon Healey, wrote a piece this past Monday regarding the issue of Walmart in Chinatown. I believe Jon really broke down the REAL issues facing the people of Los Angeles and Chinatown versus the mixed and sometimes erroneous statements that have been made on the project. Los Angeles City Council is considering a proposal that would put a hold on all new future chain-store development of Chinatown. As Jon Healey writes, “…a move that specifically would halt the planned construction of a Wal-Mart grocery store in the neighborhood.” Wal-Mart applied for the LA City required permits to build a grocery store in a pre-existing location, that has been sitting vacant for more than 15 years. Empty…no much needed sales tax revenue for the City of Los Angeles and even more important jobs for those residents of Los Angeles, who need them most. Read more
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