Lawmakers Set to Vote on State Budget

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February 16, 2009

State lawmakers are expected to vote on a state budget compromise Saturday (Feb. 14). While information continues to leak out about the package agreed to by legislative leadership and the Governor, here is a snap shot of what will be considered:
 $15.8 billion in cuts.
 $14.3 billion in tax increases.
 $10.9 billion in borrowing.
 And if California gets $10 billion in federal stimulus money, cuts drop by $1.2 billion, borrowing is reduced by $5.5 billion and tax increases are reduced by $1.8 billion.
What’s in it for the construction industry?
According to the Governor’s office, if the legislature approves the budget package the construction industry is in line for the following:
 Changes in the CARB diesel retrofit requirements to give flexibility to contractors. The modifications to the off-road diesel regulation include providing additional credits for equipment owners that have previously retrofitted or sold off portions of their equipment fleets. Highlighted below are the three most significant items in the budget deal concerning the off-road diesel regulations.
 Contractors will be given full credit for any vehicle retirements made between March 1, 2006 and March 1, 2010 as long as total fleet horsepower decreased from the previous year. These credits will last indefinitely.
 Contractors may carry forward a credit for reduced fleet activity based on the percentage reduction in annual fleet hours for the year ending July 1, 2007 to the year ending March 1, 2010. Those credits may only be used for 2010 and 2011. 
 For the total turnover and retrofit requirements for the years 2011 through 2013, fleets may meet the standards by completing 20 percent of the work in 2011, an additional 20 percent in 2012 and the balance in 2013.
 12 cent gas tax increase that initially will be used to finance the Proposition 1B bonds and later provide additional revenue to the State Highway Account. 
 Elimination of third party labor compliance requirements on all infrastructure bond funded projects, design build and public private partnership projects and creation of a labor compliance fund in the Department of Industrial Relations.
 Unlimited Public Private Partnership authorization using design-build for infrastructure projects that would have to be started by 2017.
 Design Build authority for 10 state transportation projects, 5 local non-state highway projects, 10 state non-transportation projects, and 10 local redevelopment design build projects. Labor compliance requirements would not be required for these projects.
 Exemption from CEQA for 8 highway projects totaling $1.4 billion.
 CEQA permit streamlining for 9 highway projects.
 Permit streamlining for a Route 91 project in Orange County.
If approved by the Legislature this weekend, the construction industry could expect the release of millions in public works dollars that are currently under threat of being halted.
The Governor's Office is asking the construction industry to indicate support for the package and focus on the following key Senators. 
Bob Dutton (R-Inland Empire) – 916- 651-4031
Roy Ashburn (R – Bakersfield) – 916- 651-4018
Tom Harmon (R – Orange County) – 916- 651-4035
Dave Cox (R – Fair Oaks) – 916- 651-4001
Abel Maldonado (R- Santa Maria) – 916- 651-4015
Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) – 916-651-4029
Lou Correa (D – Orange County) – 916-651-4034
Also support phone calls into Dave Cogdill, Republican Leader (Fresno), indicating support for the package. 916-651-4014.
 - from Kevin J Pedrotti, Legislative Advocate for the Golden State Builders Exchanges