Sacramento, CA – Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) today introduced legislation requiring that violent felons who tamper with or remove their GPS monitoring devices while on parole will have their parole revoked and be returned to jail for a minimum of 180 days. By doing this, we will protect the public and prevent possible future victims; especially in light of the public safety realignment and early release policies that have resulted in an uptick in crime rates.

Assembly Bill 2477 expands upon last year’s legislation which placed strict monitoring requirements upon paroled sex offenders. Gorell’s bill recognizes that large numbers of violent felons released under Governor Brown’s prison realignment system are required to wear GPS tracking devices, but the punishment for disabling the tracking devices is often insignificant.

“Without the deterrence of additional jail time, violent felons who continue to prey upon innocent Californians see no problem with removing their GPS tracking devices,” stated Assemblyman Gorell. “We put tracking devices on these felons for a reason, and it is important that they be constantly monitored.”

A 2013 article in the Los Angeles Times revealed that parolees can disable their GPS monitors, often with very little risk of serving time because the jails are too full to hold them. Some jails have freed parole violators within days or even hours of their arrest, and some jails have refused to accept these parole violators at all.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, in the 15 months before prison realignment, 221 parolees tampered with or cut off their GPS monitors. After the change, between October 2011 and the end of 2012, 482 parolees tampered with or cut their GPS bracelets. AB 2477 can be a very effective tool to help local law enforcement deal with these negative effects of realignment.

 

Click here for Attractions Spa website


 
Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin to Speak

State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) will be officially filing his candidacy papers to run for Congress at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, February 26 at the Ventura County Registrar of Voters office.

After filing as an official candidate, Gorell is hosting a Campaign Kick-Off Rally and Barbeque for his many supporters throughout the 26th Congressional District at the Veterans Memorial at Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26
12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

WHERE: Veterans Memorial
Conejo Creek Park North
1379 East Janss Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin will lead a host of community leaders and local residents from across the 26th Congressional District in showing their support for Jeff's candidacy. A brief speaking program will begin the event with a complimentary community barbeque to follow.

"The people of Ventura County are tired of the broken promises and partisan gridlock in Washington DC," declared Gorell. "My campaign is about bringing our local communities together to take back Congress and restore America's leadership."

 


 

Camarillo, CA – The office of Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) will be hosting a free public forum on March 5th for individuals who wish to learn more about healthcare options available under Covered California. This workshop is open to the public.

Representatives from Covered California, the United Way of Ventura County, Ventura County Public Health, and local insurance agents will be available to help answer questions about the newly implemented healthcare programs, and to help people find an appropriate healthcare plan for themselves and their families.

What: Covered California Healthcare Information Forum – Open to the Public

When: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
(Check-In Begins at 7:30 a.m.)

Where: Ventura County Community Foundation Nonprofit Center
4001 Mission Oaks Blvd.
Camarillo, CA 93012

March 31st is the final day of open enrollment, the period of time in which many Californians can get federal premium assistance to reduce their costs. This federal premium assistance is only available through Covered California.

March 31st is also the last day you can buy insurance to be considered covered for 2014. For additional information on Covered California healthcare plans, visit http://www.CoveredCA.com.

For more info or to RSVP for the event, please contact Assemblyman Jeff Gorell’s District Office at (805) 482-1904.

For media inquiries or for media RSVP, please contact Douglas Lorenz at (805) 242-8123.

 


 

SACRAMENTO – George Runner today issued the following statement regarding a Board of Equalization staff proposal to reduce the gas tax by 3.5 cents per gallon for the 2014-15 fiscal year:

“This proposed gas tax cut will give Californians a much-deserved tax break and help lower travel costs this summer. It has my full support.

“Although I’m pleased the tax will go down this year, it’s unfortunate that California will continue to have one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation.

“California has a confusing and complicated gas tax scheme that was imposed by the Governor and Legislature in 2010 over my objections. The BOE did not create this tax scheme.

“Taxes are hard enough to accept, but when they can’t be simply explained, it erodes public confidence. This tax scheme is so complicated even expert tax professionals have a hard time understanding it.

“Taxpayers deserve a simple and straightforward tax system that they can easily understand and won’t take them by surprise. They have the right to know how much they’re paying and where those dollars are going.”

The Board of Equalization will consider and vote on the proposed tax rate change at its February 25, 2014 meeting in Culver City.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

 

SACRAMENTO – Board of Equalization Member George Runner will host a telephone townhall for small business owners on Wednesday, February 19 at 2:00 p.m. The free event, co-hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business, will provide specific information to small business owners on how best to avoid common tax errors.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but everyday owners face challenges with California’s complicated tax laws,” said Runner. “As their elected taxpayer advocate, I want to make sure small business owners can be successful and avoid the pitfalls of California’s tax traps.”

Those wishing to participate may register online at www.boe.ca.gov/townhall or by calling 916-445-3032.

Individuals who pre-register will receive a telephone call at the start of the event inviting them to connect to the townhall.

The telephone townhall will inform small business owners about how to protect themselves from common tax traps such as missing records, successor liability, underreporting of tax, and invalid resale certificates. Information about these issues will help small business owners avoid making potentially costly mistakes.

Runner held a similar telephone townhall earlier this month. An audio recording is available at www.boe.ca.gov/smallbiz.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

 

SACRAMENTO – Board of Equalization Member George Runner will host a telephone townhall for small business owners on Tuesday, February 4 at 10:00 a.m. The free event, co-hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business, will provide specific information to small business owners on how best to avoid common tax errors.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but everyday owners face challenges with California’s complicated tax laws,” said Runner. “As their elected taxpayer advocate, I want to make sure small business owners can be successful and avoid the pitfalls of California’s tax traps.”

Those wishing to participate may register online at www.boe.ca.gov/townhall or by calling 916-445-3032.

Individuals who pre-register will receive a telephone call at the start of the event inviting them to connect to the townhall.

The telephone townhall will inform small business owners about how to protect themselves from common tax traps such as missing records, successor liability, underreporting of tax, and invalid resale certificates. Information about these issues will help small business owners avoid making potentially costly mistakes.

Runner will hold a second small business telephone townhall on Wednesday, February 19 at 2:00 p.m for business owners unable to participate on February 4.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

 

SACRAMENTO – George Runner today urged Governor Jerry Brown to restore full funding to CAL-FIRE and eliminate the confusing and controversial Fire Prevention Fee in the revised version of his 2014-15 budget proposal.

“The Fire Prevention Fee was established during a time of crisis, when the state faced multi-billion budget deficits,” said Runner. “Those budget deficits are gone, but the fire fee remains, much to the chagrin of hundreds of thousands of rural property owners throughout California.”

The Board of Equalization is required by law to mail “Fire Prevention Fee” bills on behalf of CAL-FIRE to nearly 800,000 Californians each year. In the 2012-13 fiscal year, the Board of Equalization and CAL-FIRE spent a combined total of more than $17 million to collect only $75 million from Fire Fee payers.

“The fire fee continues to place more burdens and costs on CAL-FIRE and the State Board of Equalization while providing no additional fire protection for Californians – even with the state’s increased firefighting expenses this year due to dry weather and drought. The fiscally responsible thing to do is eliminate it.”

Restoring CAL-FIRE’s CONTINUED »

 

SACRAMENTO – George Runner today issued the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State address:

“Governor Brown provided a good executive summary of where California is now but with little direction for our future. He outlined many of California’s problems, but did not propose tangible solutions.

“I am pleased to hear Governor Brown’s continued calls for fiscal discipline. But just as saving money in a rainy day fund is an important way to prepare for future economic downturns, additional water storage is vital to ensuring California is equipped for future droughts. I am disappointed Governor Brown did not provide a plan to deal with our current water shortage.

“Governor Brown is a good cheerleader for California. The question is, will he stay strong when faced with a liberal Legislature that wants to increase government programs, taxes and regulations.”

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

 

The office of Assembly Member Jeff Gorell is now accepting applications for creative, hard-working interns. If you are a college or graduate student interested in broadening your knowledge of state and local government and exploring a career in public service, then you should apply.

Interns in Assemblyman Gorell's office will learn the inner workings of state government, gain firsthand experience in a District office, and provide assistance to families in California's 44th Assembly District. This is a rewarding and highly-educational internship!

Internships are currently available in the Camarillo District Office and the new Oxnard District Office. Part-time unpaid internships are available throughout the school year.

Course credit for internships may be available through your college or university. Prospective interns should discuss academic credit eligibility and requirements with their academic advisor or campus coordinator.

Interns work with Assemblyman Gorell's professional staff on a variety of projects and are also assigned clerical tasks. Qualified candidates must be able to balance multiple projects simultaneously, possess strong writing, reading, and problem-solving abilities; have basic computer skills and ability to use Internet search engines, database management systems, and programs in the Microsoft Office suite; maintain professional etiquette as a representative of an elected state legislator both inside and outside the office.

Applicants are asked to call (805) 482-1904 or email stephanie.butts@asm.ca.gov

 

SACRAMENTO – George Runner today issued the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s 2014-15 Budget Proposal:

“A budget that demonstrates fiscal restraint is essential for California to stay on track. The Governor’s high speed rail funding plan shows at least some of his funding priorities are off track.

“Increased revenues are primarily the result of temporary tax increases that will soon expire. California cannot solve its long-term budget problems by relying on temporary solutions that undermine job creation and economic growth.

“A comprehensive plan must prepare for the ending of the temporary tax increases Californians imposed on themselves to get out of the fiscal hole of overspending and recession.

“It is vital to set aside reserves for future shortfalls, or the Legislature may push to make temporary tax increases permanent. A strong rainy day fund is an important part of ensuring our state’s fiscal stability.

“California’s budget challenges will only be truly solved when a strong and healthy private sector is able to create jobs and opportunity for more Californians.”

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

 
Bi-partisan Community Leadership Team Formed To Guide Gorell Campaign in Oxnard

Oxnard, CA - Candidate for Congress Jeff Gorell announced today his campaign leadership team for the City of Oxnard.

Gorell's Oxnard leadership team includes both prominent Democrat and Republican leaders, reflecting the reform-minded lawmaker's reputation for independence and his bipartisan appeal as a leader who delivers results for the people of Ventura County.

The Gorell campaign announced the following community leaders who will serve as Oxnard co-chairs:
• Bryan MacDonald, Oxnard City Councilman
• Irene Pinkard, Ed.D, Former Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem
• Andres Herrera, Former Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem
• Dean Maulhardt, Former Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem
• Bedford Pinkard, Former Oxnard City Councilman, Oxnard Parks and Recreation Commissioner
• Steven Kinney, President of Oxnard Economic Development Corporation
• Lupe Anguiano, Founding President of Stewards of The Earth
• Geraldine "Gerry" Ferraro Moreno, Community Volunteer
• Pablo F. Ortiz, President of Oxnard Downtowners
• Tila Estrada, Oxnard Business Owner
(Note: Titles are given for identification purposes only)

"The people of Oxnard need Jeff Gorell as our Representative in Congress," declared Oxnard Councilman Bryan MacDonald, a Republican. "Jeff's military background, as well as his proven success in fighting for local jobs, will be a great asset to our City."

"Jeff Gorell has courage to reach across the aisle and achieve common sense solutions," stated former Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Irene Pinkard. "He is a leader who is accessible and delivers on his commitments."

"I support Jeff Gorell because he engages the community to bring people together," said Oxnard Community Volunteer Lupe Anguiano. "That's the kind of leadership we desperately need in Washington D.C."

"I'm humbled and encouraged by the support of these respected and dedicated
bi-partisan community leaders," said Gorell. "Their endorsements reflect the growing public desire for a new Congressional Representative who will focus on solutions and results-not on partisan rhetoric or divisive wedge issues. The public is fed up with the intolerable gridlock in Washington and now is the time for results."

Gorell will be announcing endorsements and leadership teams in each city in the district throughout the month of January. Early public endorsements already include House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy; Congressman Elton Gallegly (ret.); Michael Reagan; Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; Congressman Robert J. Lagomarsino (ret.); Ventura County District Attorney Michael D. Bradbury (ret.); Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy; Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin; Port Hueneme Mayor Tony Volante (ret.); Ventura County Auditor-Controller Christine Cohen (ret.); Santa Paula City Councilmember Jim Tovias; Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber; Ventura City Councilmember Jim Monahan and Santa Paula City Councilmember Bob Gonzales.

Assemblyman Gorell was elected to the legislature in 2010 and currently serves as vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. Gorell is also an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve. A decorated veteran of two tours to Afghanistan, Gorell was recently selected for promotion to Commander. He is also on the faculty of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks where he been an adjunct professor of public policy since 2006. He is teaching a course on California Policy Process this winter semester.

 

Sacramento, CA – Assembly Budget Committee Vice-Chair Jeff Gorell today warned the legislature of the dangers of relying on volatile revenues without a solid “rainy day fund,” pointing out that personal income tax revenues now make up 75 percent of general fund sources, a historic high.

“California relies on revenues from the personal income tax more than ever before,” stated Assemblyman Gorell. “This is one of the most volatile revenue sources available. Relatively small shifts in the economy and decisions by a handful of high income earners can result in wild up and down swings to state revenues. We need to be saving the surplus revenues now if we expect to have a safety net during the next recession. The failure to save today means that in the lean years we will again have to cut programs and services, which is harmful to Californians and our economy.”

The LAO recently reported that with Proposition 30 tax increases, personal income tax had now jumped to become the source of 75 percent of California’s general fund. By comparison, the personal income tax share of the revenues had exceeded 60 percent only once prior in California history – at the collapse of the “dot-com” boom in 2000-2001.

“The legislature and Governor must resist the temptation to spend the surplus,” said Gorell. “And we need a real “rainy day fund” in our Constitution to avoid the collision course with deficits we will inevitably face.”

 

Written By Julian Hattem

A federal court has tossed out a lawsuit trying to prevent the government from searching laptops, cellphones and other devices at U.S. border checkpoints.

The circuit judge’s decision to uphold the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy on Tuesday was a blow to civil liberties groups that argued the practice violated the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

According to government documents, officials at the border search and copy the contents of thousands of people’s devices each year. Border agents are allowed to look into the devices and detain them for a short period of time without a reasonable suspicion that the traveler has committed a crime.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed a lawsuit challenging the DHS policy in 2010, on behalf of the National Press Photographers Association and Pascal Abidor, a French-American man whose laptop was confiscated at the Canadian border.

But in his opinion... http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/194200-court-upholds...

 
The legislator, veteran, educator to focus on breaking Washington gridlock

Camarillo, CA - California State Assemblyman Jeff Gorell announced today that he intends to run for the House of Representatives in California's 26th Congressional District. Gorell has opened a committee and begun raising funds for the race and intends to make a more formal public announcement in January.

"Partisan games and gridlock in Washington are crippling our great nation. I'm sick and tired of it, as are most Americans." said Gorell. "We need real leadership, not political posturing, to fix our broken Congress. The challenges facing both this community and America are too critical to leave to anyone who retreats into the trenches of party politics or lacks the vision, passion and leadership to be a champion for people of the 26th Congressional District."

"We deserve a congressional representative who will focus on uniting the community" continued Gorell. "In the Legislature, I have built a reputation as an independent leader capable of working across the aisle. By placing people above parties, we achieved results on the important issues facing the district such as protecting homes in Port Hueneme against beach erosion; helping position our port to be more globally competitive and energy efficient; enacting new state tax incentives to protect our local manufacturing jobs; and launching the bi-partisan 'Gold Team California' to attract new jobs."

"It's this vision and level of leadership that will be required to address the important federal issues that will face our community in the near future. For example, it's almost a certainty that our local Navy Base Ventura County will be threatened for closure in 2015 along with the elimination of thousands of jobs there. The people of Ventura County need and deserve a true champion to unite the community around defending this important defense and economic asset. On this and other key issues, I intend to prove to voters that I am that champion."

."Furthermore, our nation is at a crossroads. Americans have lost faith in federal health care. Local families are losing their insurance, premiums are skyrocketing, and many Californians will soon be losing their choice of doctors.

I am running for Congress to fix the health care mess in Washington and preserve Americans' ability to choose their own health insurance and keep their doctor," declared Gorell. "I am looking forward to running an honorable campaign and ultimately serving the people of the 26th Congressional District," said Gorell

Gorell intends to release a full list of campaign co-chairs and supporters in January. Early public endorsements already include House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy; Congressman Elton Gallegly (ret.); Michael Reagan; Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; Congressman Robert J. Lagomarsino (ret.); Ventura County District Attorney Michael D. Bradbury (ret.); Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy; Moorpark Mayor Janice Parvin; Port Hueneme Mayor Tony Volante (ret.); Ventura County Auditor-Controller Christine Cohen (ret.); Santa Paula City Councilmember Jim Tovias; Senator Tony Strickland (ret.); Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber; Ventura City Councilmember Jim Monahan and Santa Paula City Councilmember Bob Gonzalez.

Assemblyman Gorell was elected to the legislature in 2010 and currently serves as vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. Gorell is also an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve. A decorated veteran of two tours to Afghanistan, Gorell was recently selected for promotion to Commander. He is also on the faculty of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks where he been an adjunct professor of public policy since 2006. He is teaching a course on California Policy Process this winter semester.

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear Kathleen Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.:

“Under the Affordable Care Act, all Americans have the right to access affordable, quality healthcare, including contraception,” Attorney General Harris said. “For profit companies should not be able to deny women access to healthcare based on the religious beliefs of the company’s owners. The 10th circuit ruling should be reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In October, Attorney General Harris filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to take up this case and was joined by ten states including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

A copy of the first brief is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

# # #

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-i...

 

Port Hueneme, CA – In a letter to Republican leaders in Washington D.C., Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) today asked Congress to support amendments to a water resources bill that will help repair major erosion damage to Hueneme Beach and prevent a recurrence of this year’s expensive disaster.

“The money sitting in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund should have been used last year to prevent the disaster that has occurred to Hueneme Beach,” stated Assemblyman Gorell. “Rep. Brownley’s amendments will help to make sure that the problems we are facing now will not be repeated in the future. I have asked my fellow Republicans to help the city of Port Hueneme by including these amendments in the final water resources bill.”

A lack of funds was the reason cited last year by the Army Corps of Engineers when sand replenishment efforts at Hueneme Beach were halted early. Subsequent erosion rapidly erased the beloved local beach and threatened the homes and businesses beyond. The city of Port Hueneme has already spent $1 million in an emergency effort to begin construction of a boulder barricade against the relentless tides, a project which will be completed before winter with an additional $2 million in emergency state funds. Assemblyman Gorell led the effort in Sacramento to bring this issue to the attention of state legislators and to secure the emergency funding.

Unlike typical beach erosions in other areas, the rapid sand erosion problem on the Hueneme coast is a man-made phenomenon. Prior to the construction of the Port of Hueneme in 1939, the shoreline of Ventura County between what is now Port Hueneme and Point Mugu was considered to be stable. However, with the construction of the port’s channel and jetties, the natural migration of sand down the coast was disrupted, resulting in severe erosion problems at Hueneme Beach, Ormond Beach and Point Mugu Beach.

The problem was dealt with in the 1950s when the federal government built an offshore trap to store migrating sand and began conducting biennial dredging programs to move the captured sand back to the beaches where it belongs. In 1996, additional federal legislation recognized that the responsibility for the expense of this dredging and sand bypassing belongs to the federal government.

A PDF of Assemblyman Gorell’s letter is attached to this release.

 

Board of Equalization Member George Runner today issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s signing of Assembly Bill 1412, which fully reversed a controversial Franchise Tax Board staff decision to seek millions in retroactive taxes from California taxpayers:

“It’s no secret I’ve been highly critical of the Franchise Tax Board’s decision to assess five years and more than hundred million dollars in retroactive taxes against California small businesses and start-up investors.

“Thankfully this wrong was finally righted today with the Governor’s signature of Assembly Bill 1412.

“AB 1412 is the product of rare bipartisan legislative cooperation. It will ensure that taxpayers who followed the law in good faith will not be taxed retroactively for doing so.

“I commend all involved for their hard work in bringing about a fair and reasonable outcome for California taxpayers.”

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

Editor’s note: Runner’s letters urging action on this issue are available online as pdfs: 2/5/13, 4/26/13, 5/30/13 and 9/23/13.

 

SACRAMENTO – George Runner announced today that Governor Brown has vetoed Senate Bill 582 but has pledged to move the idea forward anyway. Sponsored by Runner and authored by Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley), SB 582 was designed to increase efficiency for taxpayers.

“It’s not easy doing business in California. One major challenge is most business owners must pay taxes to three separate state tax agencies,” said Runner. “Our legislation was designed to make life easier for taxpayers by simplifying this process.”

SB 582 would have required the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board and Employment Development Department to examine how to consolidate their websites, creating a one-stop shop for taxpayers to visit for all of their tax services. The goal was to streamline filing requirements by providing taxpayers with up-to-date integrated access to accounts with all three tax agencies.

In his veto message yesterday Governor Brown expressed support for the bill’s concept, stating the problem needed to be addressed immediately, rather than studied. He instructed his office to examine “if taxpayer service can be improved in a cost effective manner with a single state Webpage for all state taxes” and then move forward with implementation measures.

“I see this resolution as a step forward for taxpayers. I applaud Governor Brown’s commitment to this necessary policy change and look forward to working with his office to ensure it happens,” said Runner.

SB 582 received unanimous, bipartisan support through both the Senate and Assembly. A complete copy of the Governor’s veto message can be found here.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

 

SACRAMENTO – George Runner today announced he will continue to seek relief from California’s “Fire Prevention Fee” for residents who find themselves the victim of a natural disaster.

In his response to Runner’s letter Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott stated, “the Fire Prevention Fee statute, as written, provides no authority for Cal Fire to waive fees due to the loss of structures from natural disasters of any kind, nor authority to provide refunds for victims under these circumstances.”

“I am disappointed Cal Fire declined my request to halt billing to fire victims. At a time like this, taxes are the last thing they should be worrying about,” said Runner. “That’s why I’m asking local legislators to introduce urgency legislation to waive fees and provide refunds for fire victims who have lost their homes.”

Runner also sent a letter informing his constituents of his plan and of the limited relief options currently available.

Victims of natural disasters may request additional time to pay their bills. They may also request relief of penalties and interest under certain circumstances. These options are available online at boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/erelief or by calling 1-800-400-7115.

Runner noted that these individuals may also wish to file an appeal within 30 days of the bill date to protect their standing for a possible refund in the event the courts rule this fee unconstitutional.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. Runner keeps taxpayers informed of the latest fire tax news and information at calfirefee.com.

FULL TEXT OF RUNNER LETTER

Dear Taxpayer:

According to the information we’ve received, I understand your home may have been damaged or destroyed by the Clover Fire.

As your taxpayer advocate and elected member of the Board of Equalization, I’m deeply sorry for your loss. I understand that you and your loved ones face many challenges as you seek to rebuild your lives.

At a time like this, taxes are among the least of your concerns. That’s why I sent a letter to Cal Fire seeking permission to cancel the “Fire Prevention Fee” bills scheduled to mail to fire victims in Shasta County on October 16.

Unfortunately, Cal Fire declined my request, informing me that the “Fire Prevention Fee statute, as written, provides no authority for Cal Fire to waive fees due to loss of structures from natural disasters of any kind, nor authority to provide refunds for victims under these circumstances.”

A limited number of relief options are still available. You may request an extension to pay your bill. You may also request relief of penalties and interest under certain circumstances. These options are available online at boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/erelief or by calling 1-800-400-7115.

You may also wish to file an appeal within 30 days of your bill date to protect your standing for a possible refund in the event the courts rule this fee unconstitutional. For your convenience, I’ve enclosed a copy of the appeal petition.

I’ve also asked your local legislators to introduce urgency legislation to waive the fees and provide refunds for fire victims and others who may have lost their homes due to natural disaster.

Since the fee is based upon “habitable structures” it is only fair to exempt those whose homes have been destroyed.

I look forward to working with your legislators to provide relief to all Californians who suffer the loss of homes and property due to disasters. I’ll be providing updates on our efforts at www.calfirefee.com.

Again, I deeply regret your loss. If I can be of assistance in any way as you seek to rebuild, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 916-445-2181.

Sincerely,
GEORGE RUNNER
Second District

 

SACRAMENTO – Board of Equalization Member George Runner will host a telephone townhall for restaurant owners on Monday, October 28 at 10 a.m. The event, co-hosted by the California Restaurant Association, will provide specific information on tax issues important to the dining and beverage industry.

“Restaurants play a vital role in California’s economy, providing more than one million jobs across the state,” said Runner. “To be successful, restaurant owners need to understand California’s complicated tax laws. As their elected taxpayer advocate, I want to hear their concerns and answer their questions.”

Those wishing to participate may register online at www.boe.ca.gov/townhall or by calling 916-445-3032.

Individuals who pre-register will receive a telephone call at the start of the event inviting them to connect to the townhall.

Among the many tax challenges facing restaurant owners, caterers, and food truck operators are the “80/80 Rule” and tax rates for hot and cold food, food sold “to-go”, tips and gratuity charges, beverage sales, employee meals and complimentary food and beverages.

Further information on these and other relevant tax issues is available at www.boe.ca.gov/restaurants.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.