Two Bills By Assemblyman Manuel Pérez Signed into Law By Governor

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california flagNew Laws Combat Illegal Tax Evasion and Support Renewable Energy Development

SACRAMENTO – Two more bills by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez were signed today by the Governor:

AB 576 (Chapter 614, Statutes of 2013) creates the California Revenue Recovery and Collaborative Enforcement (RRACE) team, formalizing data sharing and communication among the Board of Equalization, the Franchise Tax Board and the Department of Justice to combat illegal tax evasion in the underground economy.

The new law authorizes the three state entities to collaborate on prosecuting illegitimate businesses that underpay or do not pay state sales, use, and income taxes, with the goal of recovering tax dollars that fund critical state services.

“When the underground economy is able to flourish, revenues that support government services are lost, workers go without basic employment protections, and legitimate businesses are confronted with unfair competition,” said Pérez.

“AB 576 will help California to recapture billions in lost tax revenue from black market activity and level the playing field for California’s legitimate businesses.”

In signing the bill, the Governor also included a signing message that he had appointed the Department of Industrial Relations to oversee and coordinate the work of the RRACE team.

Jointly authored with Assemblyman Steve Fox of Palmdale, AB 1060 (Chapter 621, Statutes of 2013) extends a renewable energy planning grant program established by Pérez in 2010 that supports collaboration and shared planning efforts among local governments participating in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP).

“This grant program has helped local jurisdictions develop the policies needed to support the growth of renewable energy in their regions,” said Pérez. “With the extension of the program made possible by AB 1060.

My hope is that counties that have not yet applied for the funds, like Riverside County, will act quickly to secure the funding to undertake the planning to support our region’s renewable energy future.”

The DRECP is a multi-agency, multi-county process to protect desert ecosystems while facilitating the development of compatible renewable energy projects.  The planning grant program was created by Pérez with his bill ABx13 (Chapter 10, Statutes of 2011).

It made $7 million in funds available for jurisdictions in the DRECP area to update policies and documents needed for renewable energy development.  In 2012, Pérez authored AB 1255 (Chapter 250), which simplified the process used by local governments to apply for the grants.

Five grants have thus far been awarded, including to Imperial County, though not all eligible jurisdictions have applied. With the program slated to sunset, AB 1060 re-appropriates the unused funds — $3.6 million — and extends the program to June 30, 2014.