in the KNOWN

In the Know Newsletter

October 21, 2016

election-2016Oppose Prop 55 – Measure Extends Income Tax Hikes

Ag Council’s Board of Directors recently voted to oppose Prop 55, which extends the temporary personal income tax rate increases approved by voters in 2012 for the purpose of funding education and health care.

The higher personal income tax rates are a result of Prop 30 approved by voters in 2012 as temporary and scheduled to expire at the end of the 2018 tax year. Prop 55 extends the taxes through 2030. Specifically, Prop 55 affects those with earnings over $250,000 for single filers, more than $500,000 for joint filers and over $340,000 for heads of household.

When the electorate approved the temporary tax hike back in 2012, California was in the midst of a severe recession. However, the urgent fiscal circumstances that led to Prop 30 four years ago do not exist today, and California now has in excess of a $2.7 billion surplus and continues to grow its Rainy Day Fund, a state budget reserve projected to reach over $9 billion by 2018.

With the state in better fiscal health, it is not necessary to extend the temporary taxes beyond the 2018 tax year. Further, state revenue from personal income taxes is unstable and is greatly reduced during a recession, so it is not a reliable source of revenue.

For these reasons, Ag Council urges members to oppose Prop 55, which allows the temporary taxes to end at the conclusion of the 2018 tax year, as originally intended.

To learn more about the Prop 55 opposition effort, click HERE.

CDFA Accepting Specialty Crop Grant Applications

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting proposals for the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). Phase I of the two-phase competitive process is underway to accept applications for projects enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops in California.

The Phase I deadline for applicants to submit concept proposals is November 15. Successful applicants in Phase I are invited to participate in Phase II and submit a detailed grant proposal.

CDFA is offering workshops in October to provide an overview of the program, demonstrate the online system and offer grant writing tips. Details about the upcoming workshops in Merced and Sacramento, as well as a webinar, are available via the “Learn More” link below.

Grant awardees in 2016 include projects to increase sales of specialty crops by: leveraging the California Grown identity; increasing consumption through expansion of the consumer market; improving availability and providing nutritional education for consumers; training growers to equip them for current and future challenges; and conducting research on conservation and environmental outcomes, pest control and disease, and organic and sustainable production practices.

Applicants for the 2017 grants must register online with the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) available via this link: https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov. Concept proposals must be submitted electronically using FAAST by 5 p.m. on November 15, 2016.

Further details are available on CDFA’s website by clicking HERE.

October 14, 2016

Vote No on Prop 53

460009501Ag Council of California’s Board of Directors recently voted to oppose Proposition 53 on the November ballot. In so doing, Ag Council joins a broad and diverse bipartisan coalition of more than 275 groups also opposed to Prop 53 because the measure will take away local control and threaten water, road and other vital infrastructure projects needed to support our agricultural community. Given this, Ag Council encourages members to vote no on Prop 53.

Prop 53 would undermine local control by requiring a statewide vote even for some local infrastructure projects. This would allow voters in distant areas to veto local projects that communities decide they need and support.

Ag Council President Emily Rooney said, “Prop 53 undercuts local control where decisions are being made to move forward on desperately needed water projects, particularly during this time of severe drought. Because it places certain water projects in jeopardy, Prop 53 could have a serious impact on the future of California agriculture.”

Prop 53 could threaten a wide array of water projects including storage, desalination, recycling, and other crucial projects needed to boost water supply and improve water quality. Such water projects benefit multitudes in a local region from farmers growing healthy food, to suburban residents, to families needing clean drinking water in disadvantaged communities.

Prop 53 would require statewide voter approval for state revenue bonds totaling more than $2 billion for a project that is funded, owned, or managed by the state. This would include local areas joining together with the state to form a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to issue revenue bonds totaling more than $2 billion to improve or build local water systems, water storage, roads, bridges, and universities. As a result, voters in distant regions could stop locally supported projects – even though private investors bear the risk of revenue bonds, not taxpayers statewide, and revenue bonds are repaid by those who directly benefit from a project, not taxpayers statewide.

Ag Council urges a no vote on Prop 53. To learn more about Prop 53, please click HERE.