I’d like to talk to you about cap-and-trade, a massive energy tax passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor in July 2017. I put together this short video to demonstrate how cap-and-trade is a bait-and-switch for California businesses and families. I will continue fighting to protect taxpayers and will to keep you updated on what’s happening with this important issue.
Committee Rejected Cal Fire Audit Request
Senator Gaines attends Joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing to request audit of Cal Fire.
Earlier this week, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) denied my request for an audit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), specifically the monies collected from the fire tax.
My district contains as many as 160,000 properties in State Responsibility Areas, whose owners have been paying the fire fee for the past six years. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be adequate accounting for the money collected – its total, its balance, and its administration costs.
Although the collection of the fee is now being suspended, hundreds of millions of dollars have already been taken from largely rural taxpayers and they deserve to know what happened to that money, and whether it was spent in a manner consistent with the law and their expectations.
It was my hope that an audit of Cal Fire’s fire fee would assure me, my constituents and the public, that taxpayer interests are being served. It’s unfortunate that this information will remain in the dark and that government transparency will continue to be elusive.
Out & About In The 1st Senate District
One of my favorite aspects about serving as your State Senator is when I have the opportunity to travel out in my vast district and meet so many hardworking Californians. I recently spent some time in Shasta and Siskiyou Counties where I was able to learn about some of the activities happening in the region.
Senator Gaines presents Certificate of Recognition to Preston Sharp.
While in Redding, I met Preston Sharp, an impressive 11-year-old who has made it his mission to ensure every veteran’s grave in Northern California has an American flag and flowers to honor their sacrifice for our freedom. It was my pleasure to present Preston with a Certificate of Recognition for his hard work and dedication to honoring our veterans. Keep up the great work, Preston!
Senator Gaines meets with Jake Mangas, CEO of the Redding Chamber of Commerce.
I also met with Redding Chamber of Commerce CEO Jake Mangas to discuss the local economy, and the negative impacts of excessive regulation and high taxes in the Golden State.
Senator Gaines joins Brandon Fawaz to discuss issues of importance to the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau.
While in Siskiyou County, I met with Brandon Fawaz, past president of the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau, to discuss “on the ground” concerns regarding state regulations that make it increasingly difficult to conduct normal farm and ranch operations. I also spent time with representatives of the Siskiyou County Cattlemen and Cattlewomen’s Associations to hear of similar concerns, and also learn about the impacts illegal marijuana cultivation are having on the local environment.
Senator Gaines meets with members of the Siskiyou County Cattlemen and Cattlewomen's Associations.
It was a very educational visit and I look forward to tracking all of the progress being made in my Senate District.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Senator Gaines presents Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 to Bill Doss with the California Prostate Cancer Coalition.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and I was pleased to have Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 27 pass out of the legislature that encourages increased awareness of the disease and the importance of early detection and treatment.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time for men to talk with their health care providers about this disease so that they can make informed decisions about maintaining their prostate health. In California, approximately 14,520 men are predicted to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017, and, of this number, approximately 3,130 men are predicted to die of this disease. Although prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men, when detected early it also boasts some of the highest survival rates.
For information and resources on prostate cancer, visit the California Prostate Cancer Coalition at www.prostatecalif.org.
State Senate Art Exhibit
Senator Gaines selected artwork by Alaina Bremner for the California State Senate 2017-18 California Contemporary Art Collection exhibit.
In 1997, the California State Senate initiated a program to celebrate contemporary California art. Every other year, Senators select an artist from their district for inclusion in this special show. The exhibit has become a popular event and is an important collaborative effort between Senators and California artists.
This year, I selected a beautiful piece of landscape artwork by Alaina Bremner, a resident of Lincoln and a student at William Jessup University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Visual Arts. This painting reflects the spectacular beauty of the 1st Senate District. Thank you, Alaina for sharing your wonderful talents with the Capitol community.
All artwork featured in the California State Senate 2017-18 California Contemporary Art Collection exhibit will be displayed at the Capitol through September 2018.
Taxpayer Protection Bill Heads To Governor
My Senate Bill 11, a measure that would proactively waive penalties and interest for taxpayers when a California Board of Equalization (BOE) or its successor agency’s system failure prevents them from making tax payments on time, passed unanimously out of the Assembly.
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 heads to the Governor.
Under existing law, tax payments made after the filing deadline are subject to interest and penalty. The BOE or its successor agency is currently authorized to waive any penalties or interest if the late payment is due to a disaster or agency 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.
Meeting With Realtors
Senator Gaines meets with members of the California Association of Realtors.
It was great meeting this morning with members of the California Association of Realtors to discuss important issues like housing affordability and opportunities for increasing California’s housing supply.
Seeking Video Contest Entries!
I am excited to announce that I’m hosting another video contest and am seeking entries from high school students and college undergraduates that reside in the 1st Senate District. The short, entertaining and creative videos will focus on the theme “The Bill of Rights & You.”
This is a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their video directing and producing skills and have their work displayed on my website. This contest celebrates the creativity and originality of our future leaders and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
Participants must choose a Constitutional Amendment within the Bill of Rights and create a two-to five-minute video illustrating how it’s benefitted them. The videos can feature live people, stills, animation – whatever best conveys the message.
Videos can be submitted now through November 20, 2017. Two winners – one high school and one college – living in or attending school within the 1st Senate District will be selected by Senator Gaines and will each receive a $300 cash prize and be invited to the State Capitol in Sacramento for a meeting with Senator Gaines and a VIP tour of the historic building. The winning videos will also be posted to Senator Gaines’ website.
All details about the contest, including the rules and entry form are available here.
Meeting With Truckers
Senator Gaines meets with members of the California Trucking Association.
Thanks to the California Trucking Association for visiting with me during their Legislative Day at the Capitol and for sharing the issues that affect the trucking industry the most. I look forward to our continued dialogue!