Press Releases

San Juan Capistrano, CA - California State Assemblyman Bill Brough announced his plans to introduce special economic incentive legislation that could provide a billion dollars in tax breaks for Amazon over the next decade.

“Orange County is a strong pro-business region that can accommodate the 50,000 new high-paying jobs Amazon wishes to create. This legislation sends a message that California is serious about repealing its image as a non-business friendly state,” said Brough.

In a recent Brietbart article, Joseph Vranich, President of Spectrum Location Solutions in Irvine, CA found that approximately 9,000 California companies moved their headquarters or diverted projects to out-of-state locations in the last seven years due to the Golden State’s “hostile” business environment.

“California must always remember that in today’s global economy, location is not permanent, but is a choice. The intent of this legislative package is to make that choice easier for Amazon to locate their business, suppliers, contracts, and product investments here in Orange County,” said Brough.

Orange County meets Amazon’s requirement, being one of the most diverse, highly educated, tech savvy workforces comprised of employees from some of the highest ranked public schools. In addition, it provides access to major transportation hubs for ports and airports. Brough’s economic package will state the intent of the Legislature to provide financial incentives and changes to the regulatory and environmental processes to expedite groundbreaking, new construction in California, by bringing Amazon to our state.

This bill reestablishes the California Legislature’s “Capital Investment Incentive Program” (CIIP) that provides for a property tax abatement for up to 15 consecutive years, giving local governments, the tools needed to attract large facilities to locate and invest in their communities. In addition, Amazon would be eligible for an expanded hiring credit in Orange County equal to 17 ½ percent of wages paid to full time California employees.

The headquarters of Amazon would employ as many as 50,000 people, making an average salary of $100,000 per year. Previous CIIP agreements netted just over $3,000,000 in property tax rebates for projects ranging around $385,000,000.

“I hope this legislation gets the attention of Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos and gives Governor Jerry Brown more leverage to finalize a deal,” said Brough.

###

 

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Bill Brough (R–Dana Point) issued the following statement today after the California State Assembly passed to extend the Air Resources Board's cap-and-trade program through 2030.

“As long as we’re here to exert further – if not total – control over the private economy, it seems an apt time to quote Karl Marx, ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.’

“Cap-and-trade began as a tragic oversell as a way to rescue the planet from the clutches of pollution and has become a multi-billion-dollar moneymaking farce that the state needs to support the biggest budget in history.

“I voted in opposition to this gas tax that is 5 times worse than Senate Bill 1.”

###

SACRAMENTO - The Joint Legislative Audit Committee today unanimously approved a request by Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) to have the nonpartisan State Auditor's office audit the South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA).

Bates and Brough requested the audit after local officials raised concerns about the integrity of SOCWA's financial management of public funds. They issued the joint statement:

"We thank the Joint Legislative Audit Committee for its bipartisan support of our request to ensure that Orange County taxpayer dollars are spent properly. An independent audit will help explain inconsistencies in SOCWA's financial records and provide greater transparency to the public. We look forward to reviewing the audit when completed and working with SOCWA and stakeholders to address any issues that may be identified."

SOCWA is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) consisting of 10 Orange County water agencies that represent over 500,000 businesses and residents. SOCWA is funded by each participating water agency who allocates taxpayer dollars to provide wastewater services to South Orange County. JPA's are funded by taxpayer dollars and must be legally audited and accounted for on a regular basis.

There are concerns from the Orange County Auditor-Controller and SOCWA member agencies regarding financial inconsistencies, record requests, and the use of taxpayer dollars. This independent audit will provide clarity for all parties involved.

Frequently asked questions concerning the audit process can be found here.

###

After reviewing the proposals put forth by the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) and listening to and consulting with many residents and stakeholders regarding this issue, like my colleague Senator Pat Bates, I believe that the proposed alignments could irreparably harm the quality of life of affected communities. Therefore, I will oppose those proposed extensions.

While the proposed toll road extensions are still that – proposals – it is important for you and your neighbors to share your concerns and get your questions answered. The TCA will be holding a public forum on June 5, 2017, at Saddleback Community College to provide communities with information on the environmental settlement agreement signed this past November and the formal state and federal environmental review process that is required to move forward.

Transportation planning officials need to hear from residents directly in order to completely understand how and why many San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Ladera Ranch residents strongly oppose the proposed extensions that would cut through communities and have a detrimental impact on established neighborhoods and schools.

For more information on the June 5th forum, please visit www.GetMovingOC.com. You can also watch the forum virtually through Livestream at www.GetMovingOC.com or Facebook Live at “The Toll Roads” Facebook page. Those watching from home will have the same opportunity to ask questions as those in-person.

As you know, transportation agencies including the TCA, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are working together to address traffic concerns by asking the public for their ideas. As residents of the 73rd Assembly District, we are disproportionately affected by traffic congestion and need to be involved in this decision-making process, as the TCA begins analyzing several traffic relief ideas to determine their costs and impacts on affected communities.

Given the traffic congestion in South Orange County, I empathize with regional transportation leaders and other decision-makers about their responsibility to balance numerous demands from various communities. However, South Orange County residents must have a voice. While I support a process that is fair, transparent and inclusive, I will oppose toll road extensions that would tear communities apart.

I will also not support any toll roads through eminent domain that removes families from their homes. Any new toll road must have the support from their city elected officials and its residents.

###

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblyman Bill Brough (R–Dana Point) discussed a reform proposal to ensure the sustainability of California’s public employee pension system. The California Pension Protection Act (ACA 15) would give voters a voice in their government’s pension decisions and protect vital services that could be threatened by unfunded pension debt. Because workers depend on the pensions they have been promised, this proposal reforms the pension system without impacting current government employees or their benefits.

“Out-of-control pension debt is threatening the services our citizens rely on,” said Brough. “This proposal will protect existing pensions and give people a say in how much debt their government takes on.”

Californian’s unfunded pension debt is approaching half a trillion dollars. Without reform, governments will be unable to meet their pension obligations, forcing them to cut retiree benefits, raise taxes, or slash services.

“During the next 7 years, unsustainable pension costs for many cities will increase by 50 percent and they will double for all school districts,” said Dan Pellissier, President of California Pension Reform. “ACA 15 allows voters, instead of politicians, to decide if new government employees receive expensive lifetime retirement promises.”

“The necessary increase in state and local tax burdens to fully fund the State’s pension system will cause California’s economy to be 21 percent smaller over the next 30 years. This will result in drastic cuts to jobs and will significantly impact every Californian” stated Mission Viejo Mayor Wendy Bucknum, “I thank Assemblyman Bill Brough for his commitment to reforming this broken pension system.”

The California Pension Protection Act would require voter approval to establish new pension plans, enhance pension benefits, or for governmental employers to pay more than one-half of the cost of pension benefits. It would also stop pension boards from punishing governments that make the fiscally prudent choice to transition away from pension plans.

###

SACRAMENTO –Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) issued the following statement in response to the release of Governor Brown’s May Revision of his 2017-18 budget proposal:

“Pensions in California are on the verge of extinction if we continue to approve state budgets, year after year, without addressing the needed reform that will prevent the catastrophic collapse of our retirement system.”

“The Governor’s proposal to prepay $6 billion against the $279 billion of unfunded pension liabilities is a band-aid approach. Without sensible and fair pension reforms to protect taxpayers and keep the promises made to public employees, Californians will likely face yet another large tax increase to bail out a failing system. ”

###

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Bill Brough (R–Dana Point) is proud to announce that his joint-authored legislation with Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), Assembly Bill 346, has passed the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. AB 346 would allow cities to extend their Low to Moderate Income Housing Fund (LMIHF) dollars towards, homelessness services, transitional housing, or emergency housing, in addition to affordable housing.

“We are in the middle of a housing crisis that has resulted in an increase of homeless population in California” said Assemblyman Brough. “In Orange County, the homeless population is near 4,500 people and our cities don’t have the funds to provide adequate services and housing relief.”

Since the dissolution of redevelopment in 2012, cities and counties with redevelopment agencies have found that they had much lower contributions to LMIHF funds. Currently, LMIHF funds are only able to be used towards the development and creation of affordable housing. With a very small amount of capped dollars available for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing services, this bill will help cities utilize their depleted LMIHF fund dollars.

“By expanding the use of Low to Moderate Income Housing Funds, we are providing cities with commonsense solutions to best help their communities,” concluded Brough.

AB 346 passed by a vote of 7-0 and next will be heard in the Assembly Local Government committee.

###

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Bill Brough (R–Dana Point) issued the following statement today after the California State Assembly passed Senate Bill 1, which is the Governor’s $52 billion tax increase for the next 10 years to fund transportation.

SB 1 will enact a $5.2 billion annual tax increase for transportation with almost no significant funding for traffic congestion relief. Californians across this state face long commute times, gridlock and the effect of years of neglect to our roadways. The Public Policy Institute of California found that nearly 60 percent of Californians view traffic congestion as a “big problem.” Yet none of the revenues in SB 1 may be used to expand road capacity to relieve traffic congestion.

“Orange County residents are overwhelmed already with transportation taxes. We already pay a state transportation tax, a local transportation tax and we are a county of toll roads where our residents continue to pay high toll fees to use highways to get to work every day. These toll roads were financed and built locally because the state failed to provide it. Now, they want us to pay more. I say no,” said Brough.

California drivers already pay some of the highest transportation taxes in the nation while state tax revenue has increased by $36 billion over the past 6 years – yet we still face some of the worst roads in the nation. This ineffective leadership should not be rewarded with the largest gas tax increase in history.

“I did not support SB 1. It’s time for Sacramento to stop raiding transportation funds and build the roads that will get Californians out of traffic. Taxing our people with higher prices at the pump is not the solution, it creates a bigger problem,” said Brough.

###

SACRAMENTO: Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) introduced sweeping political reform legislation today that would stop candidates or interested agencies from sending taxpayer funded mass mailings close to an election. “Voter contact is an essential and honorable aspect of our democracy, but it must also be protected from abuse and manipulation,” said Brough. “My legislation will restore both common sense and common purpose to an aspect of elections that is well out of control.”

Brough’s legislation will stop the issuing of “mass mailings” by both political candidates and government agencies with a direct financial interest in a ballot measure within 90 days of an election. The Assemblyman specifically stated that elections habitually witness activity of this kind, and that it is both a nuisance to voters and an abuse of government power to meddle in an election in which it has a direct financial stake.

“The fact is, politicians, agencies and special interests take direct and unfair advantage to influence voters and elections by flooding mailboxes with political material or disguised as official government correspondence. It’s time to call this what it is and put a stop to it. Government agencies need to stop this unethical practice that’s sole purpose is to secure taxpayer votes with taxpayer dollars,” said Brough.

The measure would amend and strengthen California’s landmark political reform act of 1974, one of the first of its kind in the nation. Brough’s measure targets this reform even more clearly and ensures it will close an obvious loophole. AB 1524 would change the state law so elected officials and public offices couldn’t use their public accounts for mass mailings within 90 days of election. This new state law would directly affect incumbent state lawmakers, local elected officials, and public agencies where local or statewide ballot measures would have a financial impact on the agency.

“At a time when our politics is quite contentious, this is an ideal opportunity for both bipartisan consensus and the advancing of a nonpartisan measure that will strengthen the public interest,” said Brough. “It is in all of our interests to honor our precious democracy, and take action to ensure that our elections remain as fair as they are free.”

###