Press Releases

SACRAMENTO –Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) reacted today to Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020-2021 budget proposal:

“The Governor's budget would spend a record-high $222 billion, an increase of $8 billion over last year while more and more Californians struggle with affordability. California families and businesses deserve an affordable California. This will not be solved by tax increases but by lasting reforms to reverse the years of over taxing, regulating and spending. I applaud the Governor for addressing California’s staggering home prices and out-of-control homelessness problem.

We need to look at the layers of regulation, permitting fees and requirements that actually make homes expensive to build. I stand ready to work with the Governor and my colleagues on sensible solutions without further burdening hardworking Californians.”

 

Budget Priorities

 

 

 

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Assemblyman William P. Brough represents the 73rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Rancho Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Silverado and Trabuco Canyon.

SACRAMENTO – On the first day in session of 2020, Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) presented AB 535 to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation committee, which would increase the amount of licensed mental health and housing professionals in California by providing a tax credit for initial licensing fees.

“Licensing fees in California act as a barrier of entry for many professionals either starting a new career or making a career change because these fees require individuals to go into debt before they can even get a job,” said Brough.

According to a study by the Little Hoover Commission, one in five Californians must receive permission from the government to work. For a lower-income licensed occupation in California, applicants, on average, pay $300 in licensing fees, spend 549 days in education and training, and must pass one exam.

“Homelessness in California is the result of mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, and formerly incarcerated. We need more mental health professionals to help these individuals and get them off the streets,” concluded Brough. “Providing a tax credit to these professions is a small way to help encourage more of these professionals to work here in California and in return will help fix some of our biggest problems.”

AB 535 is currently pending a vote in the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee and has until January 24, 2020 to be voted out of the committee.

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Assemblyman William P. Brough represents the 73rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Rancho Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Silverado and Trabuco Canyon.

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) has announced that Governor Gavin Newsom has signed his Assembly Bill 230 that enacts changes to the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) program in support of better protections for disabled veteran subcontractors.

“While the DVBE program has indeed helped provide jobs for disabled veterans in California, two audits of the program have raised concerns about the program’s administration and data collection,” stated Brough. “This bill is about encouraging more participation by disabled veterans in state contracting bids and the reforms in AB 230 will help ensure these businesses are paid for their work.”

AB 230 was supported by numerous veteran organizations; including, the American GI Forum of California, AMVETS-Department of California, California State Commanders Veterans Council, and the Vietnam Veterans of America-California State Council.

October 13 was the last day for Governor Gavin Newsom to act upon bills sent to his desk during the final weeks of the 2019 session. There were a total of 1,042 bills that reached the Governor’s Desk in 2019, and 83.5% of the bills were signed leaving 16.5% of the bills to be vetoed.

Of the bills vetoed, Governor Newsom rejected Senate Bill 589 by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), which would have banned deceptive marketing practices in the rehab industry that was carried by Assemblyman Brough on the Assembly floor. His veto message can be read here.

“Having fully supported SB 589, I am disappointed that the Governor has chosen to veto this bill. The state needs to take control of ending unethical marketing practices that prey on distressed families or individuals in crisis seeking treatment. I look forward to working with Senator Bates and my colleagues next year on policies that stop bad actors and protect those who are seeking substance abuse treatment,” commented Assemblyman Brough.

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Assemblyman William P. Brough represents the 73rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Rancho Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Silverado and Trabuco Canyon

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) has announced that Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed his Assembly Bill 551 that would require law enforcement to drug test in cases of fatalities occurring within 48 hours of a traffic collision.

“Testing standards during fatal vehicle accidents has not been changed in over 25 years, this bill would have improved the forensic testing and data collected in these incidences,” said Assemblyman Brough. “Although this is not the outcome we wanted, I will continue to work on policies that keep our roads and communities safe.”

AB 551 was sponsored by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. Currently, Orange County is one of the few municipalities in the state that voluntarily test for drugs when investigating fatal collisions.

“The opioid epidemic and prevalence of drug use impacts the safety of our roads. The limited data on drugged driving does not give us a complete picture of the multi-faceted aspects of this challenge” said Sheriff Barnes. “AB 551 would have provided law enforcement with the data needed as we work to reduce DUIDs and unnecessary deaths caused by fatal collisions. My hope is that we can continue to work with the Legislature and Governor on achieving this important policy objective.”

Crime Laboratory Director for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Regional Crime Laboratory, Jennifer Harmon, provided lead technical support during the legislative process and was previously the Assistant Director of Forensic Chemistry at the Orange County Crime Laboratory.

“As forensic scientists we cannot understand a problem, if there is a problem, let alone source solutions to fix it without meaningful data. AB 551 would have updated the government code to allow California the opportunity to collect data to understand drug prevalence in fatally-injured traffic safety related cases” said Harmon. “It additionally would have ensured that all decedents of traffic related incidents receive the same standard of testing throughout the state. Without a change in the code as proposed in AB 551, inconsistent testing and incomplete data will continue to be provided from California.”

California leads the nation in providing 10% of traffic fatality information to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is the most of any state. AB 551 would have created a statewide standard for testing vehicle fatalities in order to ensure that all crucial information is collected during these incidences.

 

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SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Brough (R – Dana Point) issued the following statement on Governor Newsom’s State of the State:

“I am pleased that Governor Newsom acknowledges that California’s middle-class is reaching a breaking point. That is especially true when it comes to the high cost of housing. However, with growing uncertainty about the economy, we have to be careful with our budget priorities and unsustainable ongoing programs.

“The real challenge to balancing the family checkbook in California has become increasingly more difficult as the price of gas, rent and insurance keeps climbing. Orange County residents are spending nearly a third of their earnings on putting a roof over their head; transportation spending is up 10 percent over the past 5 years – coming in at about 4 percent higher than the U.S. average.

“I look forward to working with the new Governor on making California’s affordability the priority of the state, and focus on key issues like housing costs and job creation to help the working families and individuals in this state.”

 

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SACRAMENTO – The California State Auditor having concluded the audit of SOCWA, presented to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) its findings and recommendations regarding their audit of the South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA).

After this week’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee meeting, committee member Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) stated, “When our committee considered Senator Pat Bates and Assemblyman Brough’s request to audit SOCWA, I was troubled to hear the allegations of the JPA’s financial transparency issues. The State Auditor’s findings of longstanding financial management deficiencies prove that the audit was necessary and I look forward to SOCWA’s plan to address the State Auditor’s recommendations that will help put the JPA into compliance with California law and best practices.”

“The State Auditor’s findings validate the concerns that many in Orange County have had about SOCWA. SOCWA has essentially been in financial disarray for the past 15 years. Unaccounted cash, financial mismanagement, and disregard for key laws requiring the rotation of auditors and compliance with the California Public Records Act. It’s our responsibility to keep monitoring the situation at SOCWA and ensuring they implement every recommendation that the State Auditor gave them,” added Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), who is also a member of the legislative audit committee.

A key finding of the audit was that “SOCWA has issues with and misreported it financial statements for 15 years.” They also found that “SOCWA’s policy and procedures do not comply with certain requirements of the California Public Records Act.” The State Auditor will continue to monitor SOCWA’s work to ensure they are properly implementing the recommendations. In fact, the Auditor’s office has added a spreadsheet to its website to track SOCWA’s progress.

Assemblyman Brough commented, “as a joint-author of the audit request with Senator Pat Bates it is important for SOCWA to take serious the recommendations presented by the State Auditor and address them as quickly as possible to transform SOCWA into a fiscally sound public entity. Senator Bates and I took this important step in requesting the audit to ensure ratepayer dollars were being fiscally spent.”

“The State Auditor concluded that SOCWA did not adequately account for cash it collected from its member agencies, resulting in a $354,000 discrepancy. SOCWA should finish investigating the difference in available cash balances, prevent future discrepancies in available cash balances and should implement improved procedures to better account for members’ cash contributions. They also need to have a plan to return an additional $2.3 million in capital funds that have accrued over 10 years. To inadequately track cash collected and mismanage the accounting of millions of dollars is an outright abuse of ratepayer’s money,” concluded Brough.

 

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SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Local Government Committee unanimously approved Assembly Bill 2558 by Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point). AB 2558 would extend protections to voters and citizens by ensuring any attempt to consolidate the elected roles of the treasurer-tax collector and the auditor-controller, the fiduciary and financial watchdogs of public funds, to an appointed position be first approved by voters.

Assemblyman Brough is pleased to introduce the legislation with the support of the California Association of County Treasurers-Tax Collectors and the Orange County Auditor-Controller. Over the last 30 years, 7 consolidations occurred. In all but one of the cases, voters were not given the choice as to whether the consolidated office should be elected or appointed. These independently elected officers provide a critical protection for public funds by providing important independent checks and balances over public money.

“The elected treasurer-tax collector is a public servant and has specific responsibilities as a fiduciary to protect public funds” stated Shari Freidenrich, Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector. “State law requires another elected official, the auditor-controller to perform independent oversight of these funds by performing reviews and audits of the funds held by the treasurer-tax collector, and include some requirements implemented after the bankruptcy in Orange County in 1994. Any decision to change these important oversight and segregation of duties roles between the two independently elected offices that would consolidate these offices into a single elected position could affect public funds due to the loss of independent oversight. This bill provides that any decision to consider this change would be transparent and only done if approved by the owners of the public funds, the citizens of the county.”

Orange County Auditor-Controller Eric Woolery added, “The County’s financial watchdogs should be independent of other County officials and accountable only to the people. If the financial watchdogs are instead going to be hired and fired by politicians, then the voters should be the ones making the decision to give up their own right to elect independent watchdogs and placing them under the authority of politicians instead. I thank Assemblyman Brough for his efforts in protecting the will of the voters.”

“Fiscal responsibility, oversight, and transparency are core roles of government. This is called into question when counties propose changing elected offices charged with auditing programs and collecting and dispersing public dollars to appointed or a consolidated position. This bill gives voters a critical protection and preserves their ability to choose the level of oversight they feel is most appropriate,” concluded Assemblyman Brough.

AB 2558 will next be heard on the Assembly Floor.

 

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SACRAMENTO -- Assemblyman Bill Brough (R – Dana Point) introduced AB 1900 – an economic incentive package that could be the catalyst for large employers like Amazon and Apple to locate and expand in California.

"California needs to shed its image as an unfriendly business state," said Brough. “For every reason a corporation should choose California, which includes a diverse, highly educated, tech-savvy workforce, and top-ranked universities, ports, and international airports, there remain concerns by many citing the state's high taxes and burdensome regulations.”

Since 2012, the Tax Foundation has ranked California as one of the worst states for taxes and Chief Executive Magazine named California the most unfriendly state towards business.

"California must remember that in today's global economy location is not permanent, but a choice. The intent of this bill is to make the choice easier to locate business, suppliers, contracts, and investment in California," said Brough.

Brough's economic package will provide financial incentives and changes to the regulatory and environmental processes to benefit California’s economy and bring good paying jobs back to the Golden State.

This bill reestablishes a property tax abatement to spur construction and development and gives local governments the tools needed to attract large facilities to their communities. In addition, the bill includes an expanded hiring credit to aid employing Californians.

“For too long, headlines have read businesses like Nestle, Boeing, Hershey’s – and untold small businesses – are leaving California for states that offer greater economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers alike. California needs to compete. We need to focus on attracting businesses, employing Californians, and growing our economy,” concluded Brough.

 

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SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) issued the following statement in response to the release of Governor Brown’s 2018 budget proposal:

“With record setting spending, this budget is not fiscally responsible nor does it reflect the priorities of every day Californians to see more tax dollars returned to their wallets.

“With income taxes almost $4 billion more than projected and a substantial budget surplus this illustrates the fact that taxes are simply too high in California. Washington is returning tax dollars to the working Americans, yet Californians continue to experience higher taxes at the pump, on their car registration, and in their paycheck to fund Sacramento’s spending problem.

“Sacramento needs to use its General Fund to pay down the state's monstrous debt, expand our roads, and address the ever-increasing pension costs that will continue to crowd out necessary funding for teachers, law enforcement and essential local services.

“While this initial proposal is just that, a proposal, Sacramento’s recent track record of producing a responsible budget has been disappointing and I challenge my colleagues to produce a budget worthy of our citizens.”

 

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SACRAMENTO – On the day the Legislature returned for the 2018 session, Assemblyman Bill Brough (R–Dana Point) introduced Assembly Bill 1756, which would repeal the Gas Tax (Senate Bill 1, Beall) that took effect last November.

“Last year, Sacramento Democrats robbed every Californian of their voice and robbed them of their paychecks by unilaterally imposing the largest gas tax in state history,” said Brough. “While continually deferring to pay for road maintenance, the state’s General Fund revenue and spending has reached an all-time high. We should be using the tax dollars Californians already pay to fix our roads instead of asking them for more.”

Senate Bill 1 imposed a 12 cent per gallon increase on the gasoline tax, a 20 cent per gallon increase in the diesel excise tax, and changed vehicle registration prices from ranging between $25 and $175 based on the vehicle. These new taxes will amount to an annual increase of $5.2 Billion a year in new revenue.

“Repealing the Gas Tax puts spending to fix California’s road infrastructure a priority in the State Budget rather than asking Californians to bail out the Legislature for poor planning,” concluded Brough.

 

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