in the KNOW

May 11, 2012

Ag Council Sponsoring Cap & Trade Forum

Ag Council members are encouraged to attend an upcoming Cap and Trade Forum on May 18th in Fresno at 2 p.m. at Fresno City College, Social Science Building, Forum Hall 103.

The Forum is being held by New Democrats, which is a group of moderate Democrats in the state Legislature led by Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno).

Ag Council is a sponsor of the Forum, and the event is an opportunity for our members to communicate concerns about the cap and trade regulation to legislators. Ag Council members and others will be formally speaking at the Forum about the projected impacts of the state cap and trade program on their businesses.

The cap and trade regulatory systems is being implemented by the California Air Resources Board to carry out a landmark climate change law, AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. AB 32 was approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. The law mandates that California reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Click HERE for the event details. Ag Council remains actively engaged on climate change issues at the state level on behalf of our members. Click HERE to read more about our work.


Gov Appoints New State Water Board Members

On Thursday this week, Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointments of Felicia Marcus and Steven Moore to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Felicia Marcus comes to the Board from the Natural Resources Defense Council where she is the western directors. Prior to that position, she was executive vice president at the Trust for Public Land and administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9. Steven Moore is a civil and sanitary engineer at Nute Engineering and is a member of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The appointments this week fill two vacancies on the five-member Board. Both are full-time positions with compensation of $128,109 a year. The positions require conformation by the state Senate.

As background, the State Water Resources Control Board has authority over California’s water quality and the allocation of state water.

Click HERE to read the Governor’s press release about the appointments.


State Revenues Down

On Tuesday this week, State Controller John Chiang released a report showing that year-to-date state revenues through April are down $3.5 billion from Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2012-2013 budget projections.

Chiang said, “The task of crafting a credibly-balanced budget has been made more difficult by a nine-month revenue shortfall of $3.5 billion. Without a timely, financeable budget plan, the state will be unable to access the working capital needed to pay its bills later this year.”

On the heels of the Controller’s grim revenue announcement, Governor Brown is expected to include reductions in state worker costs in his upcoming May budget revisions. His original budget did not contain such reductions. Specific information about the cuts is not yet known, but the Governor will release his revised budget this Monday providing further details.

Ag Council will keep our members apprised of this issue, and any information about the state agricultural budget, when the Governor’s revised budget is released next week.

Click HERE for the Controller’s recent revenue statement.


Rural Fire Fee

State Assembly Natural Resources Chairman, Wes Chesbro (D-Eureka), is pursuing legislation to overhaul the new rural fire fee imposed on property owners in State Responsibility Areas (SRAs). SRAs are regions where the state has the primary financial responsibility of preventing and suppressing fires, including state and privately-owned forests.

Chesbro’s bill, AB 2474, would permit landowners who already pay an assessment to a local fire agency to deduct that amount from the new state $150 state rural fire fee. Therefore, under the bill, those currently paying local assessment over $150 would be exempt from paying the new state fee.

In addition, AB 2474 would require the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to develop a fee system that takes into account the fire history and fire risk of an area to create what the author believed is a more equitable fee. The bill would also require a report to the Legislature by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection regarding the cost of all fires in California.

AB 2474 will next be considered in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.