Recapping CMTA's Legislative priorities

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 19, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Green Chemistry

For years, we have professed that scientists should make the decisions on which chemicals or products should be restricted or banned.  In May of last year, Cal EPA announced the launching of their Green Chemistry Initiative, a 14 month endeavor to fill information and safety gaps about chemicals, develop overall policy and identify and recommend policy options.  While this process is now close to conclusion, bills have been introduced which could negate the 12 months of open workshops and the Legislature instead may define how the program will proceed.
Extended Producer Responsibility

The Integrated Waste Management Board is a division of Cal EPA created with a mission to reduce the amount of material going to landfill.  They have achieved their 1990’s goal of a 50% reduction in solid waste and they are now struggling to find other goals to justify their existence.  One of the programs they have "latched on to" consists of transferring the responsibility for further reducing solid waste from consumers and local government to the manufacturer.  This has been termed Extended Producer Responsibility.  The IWMB has been holding numerous workshops on this topic.

Meal and Rest Period

CMTA is pursuing a comprehensive solution that clarifies meal period statute and provides both the employers and employees regardless of industry, size or union status with flexibility in their daily work schedule. Current law is confusing and has lead to costly litigation against California businesses.  Employers and employees can no longer afford the burden of this liability.  CMTA is leading a coalition of employers that will lobby the legislature to make changes to the meal statue now.  CMTA helped draft the language in SB 1539, which provides relief to all employers.  Most recently the employer coalition has focused on getting the language in SB 1539 to be on the table during budget negotiations.  Efforts to pass a comprehensive solution will continue throughout the legislative session.

Sick Leave Bill
CMTA is actively opposing AB 2716 that would mandate that all employers provide paid sick leave to an employee after seven days of work in a calendar year to care for their own illness, or to provide care to a sick child, spouse, domestic partner, other relative, or some other person that they designate. Even employers that currently provide paid sick leave will face liability if their paid sick leave does not match the mandate exactly. AB 2716 proposes to require unused paid sick time to accrue and carry over from year to year increasing the employer’s liability for the payout. This bill further expands employer liability by creating a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation if an employer denies an employee’s use of sick leave, or takes any adverse employment action towards an employee that has filed a complaint or used their paid sick days.

State Budget

The state faces a $15.2 billion deficit. The most significant piece of the Governor’s recent proposal calls for a borrowing scheme to securitize the state lottery, with a fall-back proposal of a temporary one-percent sales tax increase for three years. Legislative leaders of both houses have criticized the plan however, with Democrats entertaining revenue raising ideas such as increases to the sales and use tax rate, or broadening the tax to include some services
(intangible goods.)  Negotiations could proceed through the summer, but cash shortfalls anticipated at the end of July could force expensive borrowing to bridge through August. Only the most optimistic observers believe that the final outcome will include budget reform to prevent future gaps between spending and revenues.

Sales Tax Exemption for Manufacturing Equipment

CMTA considers the budget proposals to increase the State Sales and Use Tax as an opportunity to move forward with implementing an exemption on the purchase of manufacturing equipment in California.  We propose that beginning in January 2009, the state would allow the accrual of sales tax exemptions (5%) for purchases of manufacturing equipment placed in operation within the state.  The payment of the exemption would be postponed until after January 1 of the first fiscal year in which the budget deficit is eliminated or upon sunset date of any sales tax increase implemented in the budget proposal, whichever is shorter.  Only the current state portion of sales tax is being sought by this proposal, thus it does not affect local government revenues nor does it absolve manufacturers of any increase in the tax that may be approved. This amounts to a short-term "loan" of sales tax to the state, in exchange for a future, guaranteed exemption that is on-par with other states in the US.

Climate Change -- AB 32 Implementation

AB 32 requires California to reduce greenhouse gases 25% by 2020. California Air Resources Board will issue an AB 32 draft scoping plan on June 26. Hearings and workshops will occur over the summer, with a final plan to be sent to the Board for approval in November. CARB anticipates achieving 60% of the reductions through direct regulations of the transportation and electricity generation sectors.  The balance of needed reductions would come from one or more additional regulations, a cap and trade program, or carbon fees. Local agencies have also been active in climate change policies, adopting fees (BAAQMD) and considering land use and development policies under CEQA. To make your voice heard, all CMTA companies are welcome to participate in the AB 32 Implementation Group, a coalition of business associations and companies, and the CMTA Climate Action Advisory Committee.  We have recently launched a Climate Change Technical Working Group for manufacturers interested in a joint effort on technical issues common to the broad manufacturing community. The goal will be to provide information to CARB staff on current and future technologies and competitiveness issues to guide their policies.

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