Gaines Gazette: July 3, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

Senator Gaines visits with Shin Chae-Hyun, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco, who awarded a Peace Medal to a veteran of the Korean War.

It’s been a busy legislative year so far and I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time out in the First Senate District meeting with my constituents and hearing what’s on their minds. I’ve encountered so many wonderful people and have received feedback from citizens with concerns about our state.

Summer is upon us and I want to take the time to wish you and your family a safe and relaxing 4th of July holiday! I will continue to keep you updated on important developments and the latest news taking place here at the Capitol. It is an honor to serve you in the Senate.

back to top

10th Anniversary Of Angora Fire

I will never forget the severity of what I saw 10 years ago when I toured the wreckage left behind from the destructive Angora Fire in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The community has done a remarkable job of picking up the pieces and rebuilding their homes and the Tahoe regional economy. But we can never be too vigilant. Tahoe is still at extreme risk for catastrophic wildfire and we need to take every reasonable measure to keep this area safe.

The Angora Fire scorched about 3,100 acres and destroyed 254 homes, costing many tens of millions in damages and in emergency response costs. Tahoe’s conditions in June 2007 - steep canyons, ample fuel, dry years when the area received only 29-percent of normal precipitation, high winds - were a recipe for forest fire disaster. While this year’s conditions are different in that the area has receive more precipitation, the new vegetation growth in combination with hot summer days can lead to a dangerous fire season.

We must continue to implement the recommendations made by the bi-state Blue Ribbon Fire Commission, which was formed in the wake of the fire by the Governors of California and Nevada, aimed at strengthening the region’s ability to prevent and respond to fire catastrophes. I will continue to do everything in my power to help make the region safer. I encourage residents to do their part for fire safety by exercising extreme caution with cigarettes, campfires, tools, engines or anything else that could possibly spark or otherwise cause a fire - which is how the Angora Fire began. Homeowners should create defensible space around their homes and be vigilant in clearing out brush at least 100 feet.

back to top

Cruisin’ Into Summer

Senator Gaines selected this 1965 Mustang GT as the winner of the Senator’s Trophy.
Senator Gaines selected this 1965 Mustang GT as the winner of the Senator’s Trophy.

From the time I was a kid I have always been a complete car fanatic, so when I got an invite to the 11th Annual Downtown Lincoln Car Show, I jumped at the chance. When I saw Sherrie Prado’s 1965 Mustang GT, I knew it had to be the winner of the Senator’s Trophy. Thanks to The Rods & Relics of Lincoln Hills Car Club and the VFW Post 3010 for inviting me to be a part of the fun!

back to top

Wasteful Budget

Last month, the Governor and legislative Democrats came to an agreement on the biggest spending budget in state history, spending a record $125 billion out of the General Fund, an increase of $2.5 billion from the prior year. While the budget plan does include a meager attempt to save for a rainy day and pay down debt, California still has an estimated $300 billion in outstanding liabilities, and we need to be routing every single spare dollar towards paying it down.

The Governor himself has repeatedly warned that another recession is headed our way. Instead of heeding that warning, we are increasing spending by billions to pay for things like the absurd High Speed Rail project.

This spending spree and expansion of government will only grow in future years, creating significant pressure and justification for tax increases like we just experienced with the ridiculous new gas taxes and user fees. We already live in one of the most expensive states with some of the highest taxes and worst business climates. When is enough, enough?

No matter the problem, no matter the year, no matter the economy, the legislative Democrat solution is always more spending. My constituents need tax relief, not more irresponsible government squandering that will be taken right out of their pockets.

back to top

Mikuni Small Business Of The Year

Senator Gaines presents Taro Arai with the Small Business of the Year award for the 1st Senate District.
Senator Gaines presents Taro Arai with the Small Business of the Year award for the 1st Senate District.

I was proud to recognize Mikuni Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar as the Small Business of the Year for the 1st Senate District during California Small Business Day 2017. For more than 25 years, Mikuni’s has exemplified the best qualities of a successful small business - hard work, dedication and service. Owner Taro Arai can take pride in having built eight successful restaurants with a strong sense of corporate philanthropy that have become an important part of Northern California. Congratulations Taro and your dedicated team!

back to top

Anniversary Of Proposition 13

June 6th marked the 39-year anniversary of Proposition 13, which California voters overwhelmingly passed to reduce property tax rates on homes, businesses and farms and cap the rate of future increases.

Unfortunately, Legislative Democrats are determined to squeeze every last cent from California taxpayers. They just imposed the new $52 billion gas tax, we have some of the highest personal income taxes in the country and the highest corporate tax in the West. We must do everything we can to preserve and maintain Proposition 13, one of the very few protections taxpayers have left.

I co-authored of Senate Resolution 39, which commemorates the passage of Proposition 13 on June 6, 1978. Prior to Proposition 13, California property taxes were out of control. People were losing their homes because they could not pay their property taxes, yet government did nothing to help. Senate Resolution 39 highlights the problems homeowners, small businesses and renters faced with crushingly high property taxes, and commemorates the positive impacts since Proposition 13’s passage.

Proposition 13 has made California stronger. Over the past 39 years, it has helped the average homeowner and small business save tens of thousands of dollars annually in property tax payments, money that was put back into the economy to create jobs and foster economic development. I will continue fighting to protect Proposition 13 for the millions of California families and businesses that are getting nickeled and dimed to death.

back to top

Small Business Tax Seminar

Senator Gaines welcomes small business owners to the Placerville Small Business Tax Seminar & Resource Expo.
Senator Gaines welcomes small business owners to the Placerville Small Business Tax Seminar & Resource Expo.

I recently participated in a Small Business Tax Seminar and Resource Expo held at the Placerville Townhall in the 1st Senate District. The event was sponsored by the California State Board of Equalization and the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, covering topics ranging from common sales and use tax problems, to forms of ownership and social media marketing. It was a great event for the amazing small businesses that are the backbone of our economy!

back to top

Taxpayer Protection Bill Passes Assembly Committee

My Senate Bill 11, a measure that would proactively waive penalties and interest for taxpayers when a California Board of Equalization (BOE) system failure prevents them from making tax payments on time, passed unanimously out of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation.

California taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for penalties and interest because of a state website outage. Senate Bill 11 is simple and fair, two elements of good governance that are too often missing in California. I look forward to the bill’s continued support as it makes its way through the Assembly and to the Governor.

Under existing law, tax payments made after the filing deadline are subject to interest and penalty. The BOE is currently authorized to waive any penalties or interest if the late payment is due to a disaster or BOE error, however, it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to file paperwork and petition for a refund.

Senate Bill 11 comes on the heels of four separate BOE computer system failures over the past year, two of which occurred during peak filing deadlines leaving taxpayers unable to pay their tax bills on time.

back to top

Beware Of Scammers!

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking the public to beware of scammers that are trying to steal your money! Apparently there is an email circulating claiming to be from Maureen Ohlhausen, the FTC’s Acting Chairman. But it’s not.

The email asks you to give your bank account information - so, it says, you can get money from the government’s settlement with Western Union. The email is a scam to steal your financial information. And it’s just the latest variation of an imposter scam. In 2016, consumers reported more complaints about imposter scams to the FTC than any other fraud.

If you get an email like this, don’t respond or click on any links. You can forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov.

The FTC is involved in a $586 million settlement with Western Union, but the U.S. Department of Justice will run the refunds process. And it hasn’t started yet.

This email is a good reminder that scammers are skilled liars. They’ll say anything or claim to be anyone to get your financial information - then they’ll use it to steal from your financial accounts or commit other crimes.

The FTC does shut down scams and return money to people who lost it to dishonest or unfair business practices. But they will never ask for money, your Social Security number, or any banking information so you can apply for a refund or cash a check. If the FTC needs to get money to you, they usually send a check through the mail.

back to top

At Your Service…

Graphic of bell

As your State Senator, one of the most important services I provide is assisting you when you are having trouble cutting through the red tape of state government. If you have a problem with a state agency or program such as those listed below, my staff can help find answers.

  • Department of Motor Vehicles (driver’s license, vehicle registration)
  • Employment Development Department (unemployment benefits)
  • CA Department of Justice (background checks for employment)
  • Medi-Cal
  • Franchise Tax Board
  • CA Public Utilities Commission
  • CA Resources Agency
  • Medical Board of California
  • CA Contractors State License Board
  • CA Department of Food and Agriculture
  • And much more!

We also assist local governments and community organizations with regulatory issues and grant programs involving state agencies. We can seek answers to your questions, make the appropriate officials aware of your concerns and assist with any problems you might be experiencing.

Email senator.gaines@senate.ca.gov or call (916) 771-5840 to see how we can help.

back to top