The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce and its political action committee released their first endorsements in the November election. Of the four candidates seeking election to Oxnard city council in District 1, Ken Oplinger's qualifications and positions on issues certainly rose to the top of the list.
Ken has a long list of public service on planning commissions and served on the city council in Blaine, Washington. He currently chairs the Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board and serves on the City of Santa Barbara Living Wage Advisory Board. He was recently appointed to the City of Santa Barbara Sales Tax Oversight Committee.
Ken Oplinger currently serves as the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region, where he has been since May 2013. He has been leading Chambers of Commerce in the Western US for over 25 years.
Ken and his family live near the beach in Oxnard. Voters in District 1 can learn more about Ken Oplinger from his website, www.ken4oxnard.com.
The Port of Hueneme has seen incredible growth in the past several years. They are deepening the channel leading into the Port in order to handle larger ships; they are investing in infrastructure at the Port to create more jobs, and they have increased the tonnage in and out of the Port considerably in the past 10 years.
Therefore, the Oxnard Chamber has endorsed all three incumbents seeking re-election to the Board of Commissioners of the Oxnard Harbor District (the governing body for the Port of Hueneme). Those three are Jess Herrera, Jason Hodge, and Mary Anne Rooney. The Chamber applauds the good work these commissioners have done during their respective tenures at the Port.
By Stacy Miller, Chair of the Oxnard Chamber Board of Directors
In case you missed it, a federal bill aimed at attracting private investment was passed at the end of December 2017 (Tax Cuts & Jobs Act). The bill allows the Governor to designate certain census tracts as Opportunity Zones.
The good news is that there are three of these areas that have been designated in Oxnard: Rose Park, Colonia and Five Points Northeast. These areas, which were selected by the state and federal government based on areas of poverty, include: the area east of Rose Avenue to the eastern city limits between Highway 101 and Fifth Street, plus an area south of Fifth Street that is bounded by Oxnard Boulevard and Rose Avenue.
What this means is that investments made by individuals through special funds in these zones would be allowed to defer or eliminate federal taxes on capital gains; a great incentive for private investment! The designated tracts include a mix of residential, commercial and manufacturing so investors can tailor their investments in these areas. The designation of an Opportunity Zones was hailed by the City of Oxnard as “a tool to stimulate economic growth.”
By way of background, the Governor can designate up to 25% of census tracts that either have poverty rates of at least 20% or median family incomes of no more than 80% of statewide or metropolitan area family incomes.
There are 3,516 census tracts in 54 California counties that would qualify under one or both of the mandatory criteria, allowing the Governor to designate up to 879 tracts. As census tracts are designed to capture geographic areas of around 4,000 people, more than three million Californians would potentially be located in one of these Opportunity Zone areas.
The Opportunity Zone provides investors with opportunities to purchase and rehab properties, start a business or to build on raw land. This is attractive to investors because they can defer, reduce or even eliminate taxes paid on capital gains income by investing in a special qualified opportunity zone fund.
It’s a great time to invest in Oxnard! The City of Oxnard stands ready, willing and able to discuss the Opportunity Zone program with interested investors. To find out more, contact the City of Oxnard’s Economic Development department at 805-385-7407.
Strong opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce and its allies in the closing days of the legislative session prevented one energy-related job killer bill from advancing and helped secure removal of one of the more onerous elements of an employment-related job killer proposal as well.
AB 893: Higher Energy CostsOn August 31, the last day of the session, the Senate Rules Committee failed to garner enough votes to move the newest CalChamber job killer, AB 893 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella).
AB 893 was tagged as a job killer because it would have discouraged energy-dependent businesses from growing in California and added new overhead costs for all California employers. AB 893 also created incentives for utilities to purchase out-of-state power to satisfy the mandate, threatening even more California jobs.
AB 893 required the procurement of a large amount—4,250 megawatts—of additional and unneeded geothermal, solar, and wind power. CalChamber’s analysis found that this would have substantially increase rates for California ratepayers.
In addition, AB 893 would have created a procurement process outside of the current “least-cost, best-fit” competitive bidding process.
SB 1300: Harassment/Discrimination Claims
Former job killer SB 1300 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara), dealing with harassment and discrimination claims, was amended on August 20 to remove the provisions from the bill that created a new, stand-alone private right of action for failure to prevent harassment or discrimination.
CalChamber remains opposed to SB 1300 because the bill limits the use of nondisparagement agreements and general releases, restricts the ability to summarily adjudicate harassment claims and lowers the legal standard for actionable harassment claims. These provisions will significantly increase litigation against California employers and limit their ability to invest in their workforce.
SB 1300 passed the Assembly on August 30, 41-33. The Senate concurred in Assembly amendments on August 31, 25-10. The bill awaits action by the Governor.
AB 3080: Last Job Killer
Only one job killer remains active: AB 3080 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego), which passed the Senate on August 22, 26-12, and is awaiting action by the Governor.
The CalChamber has labeled AB 3080 as a job killer because it will create more litigation, significant delays in the resolution of disputes and higher costs for employers and employees.
Jennifer Barrera, CalChamber senior vice president, policy, recaps the problems with AB 3080 in the latest CalChamber Capitol News Report video and the Capitol Insider blog wrap-up of the session.
In the video, Barrera points out that if AB 3080 becomes law, “it will prevent employers and employees from utilizing arbitration as a way in which to resolve their disputes and will force all of these disputes into the court system.”
Her blog post notes: “AB 3080 has been portrayed as a part of the #metoo movement, but upon review, is much broader than just sexual harassment. It seeks to prohibit and limit settlement agreements, arbitration agreements, and class action waivers for any labor and employment claim.
“This includes claims that have nothing to do with sexual harassment, such as meal periods, rest periods, paystub errors, sick leave, etc. It also subjects an employer to criminal liability for any violation of the various provisions.”
August 31 was the last day for the Legislature to send bills to the Governor’s desk. For a full overview of the status of major business bills when legislators began their final recess, see the Status Report pages inside this Alert.
The California Chamber of Commerce has added to the job killer list a bill that recently was amended to impose on both public and investor-owned utilities an extreme, costly mandate to procure 5,000 megawatts (MW) of energy from renewable sources. Adding AB 893 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella) brings the total number of job killer bills identified this year to 29. Currently, in addition to AB 893, only one other job killer remains active, AB 3080 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego), which passed the Senate last week and is awaiting action by the Governor.
CalChamber has identified AB 893 as a job killer because it would discourage energy-dependent businesses from growing in California and would add new overhead costs for all California employers. AB 893 also creates incentives for utilities to purchase out-of-state power to satisfy the mandate, threatening even more California jobs.
Unrealistic Procurement Numbers
California’s investor-owned utilities (IOU) and publicly owned utilities (POU) already use a diverse mix of renewable resources and are on track to meet and exceed California’s aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goals.
According to CalChamber’s analysis, AB 893’s procurement mandate significantly increases costs by removing the utilities’ ability to meet RPS goals in a cost-effective manner. AB 893 will inevitably increase energy costs for California ratepayers and requires all of this procurement on an expedited timeline—some utilities must submit a plan a mere nine or 10 months from now, giving the Public Utilities Commission a deadline of just 30 days to evaluate those plans.
Significant Cost Increases
Per kilowatt hour electricity rates in California are already among the highest in the nation. As of April 2017, some ratepayers pay a premium of 68% for electricity and 73% for natural gas over the national average, which has an impact on businesses’ ability to be competitive if they continue to be located in California.
The RPS standard uses the “least-cost, best-fit” competitive bidding process to meet California’s ambitious goals in a cost-effective manner. According to CalChamber’s letter, AB 893 thwarts that process by forcing utilities to purchase more expensive power and pass along increased rates to California ratepayers.
AB 893 is on the Senate Floor. The Legislature has until August 31 to send bills to the Governor’s desk.
For up-to-date information on the job killer list, follow @CAJobKillers on Twitter.
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com
MWS Wire Industries was founded in 1968 in Canoga Park, California, under the name Magnet Wire Supply Company as an independent distributor of film insulated copper wire (magnet wire), engineered alloy and plated wire for manufacturers of aerospace components, computer memory devices, sensors, specialized motors, transformers, solenoids and related electromagnetic components. In 1973 MWS purchased a building in Chatsworth where it began manufacturing custom engineered wires to complement the distribution operation and in 1979 the company name was changed to MWS Wire Industries. As the business thrived a new facility was built in Westlake Village where MWS has operated the past 37 years. In that time the product line expanded with the revival of a vintage insulation formulation for electric guitar pickup wire, micro-diameter insulated wire used in ‘smart catheters’ for minimally invasive surgical procedures and a variety of engineered products used in industrial, automotive and aeronautic devices. In 2014 MWS was acquired by Elektrisola, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of fine gauge copper magnet wire. Last year the company purchased a 5.7 acre lot in the McInnes Ranch Business Park in Oxnard and has developed plans for a 60,000 square foot manufacturing and warehouse building projected to open in 2019. With 49 employees having an average tenure of 21 years, MWS Wire Industries looks forward to many more years of growth and success as a member of the business community in Oxnard.
Additional information about MWS Wire Industries is available at www.mwswire.com