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Focusing on AB 608
by Kaelyn Dunnell


 Ever since I began attending more political events, I’ve been hearing the name Cottie Petrie-Norris. She was mentioned all the time—and everyone loved her! So, of course, my interest was piqued. After some googling, I discovered that she was a first term California Assemblywoman for the 74th district.

            I also discovered that Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris had authored a bill, AB 608, that was recently signed into law by the governor. I’m not going to lie—I was impressed. I’m still impressed. Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris wasn’t a year into her first term and she had already passed a bipartisan law. But, of course, I took a closer look.

            AB 608, in a nutshell, is a bill designed to save taxpayer money and increase the efficiency of the government. To understand how AB 608 does this, we have to take a look at the Low-Value Ordinance Exemption.

            The government collects and assess taxes on possessory interests, which are privately controlled pieces of public property—like a restaurant patio on a public sidewalk. They are most commonly small businesses.

Sometimes, however, the cost of this assessment can outweigh the actual taxes collected on the property. Essentially, the taxes on the property do not pay for the assessment of these taxes. And so, the government loses money.

The Low-Value Ordinance Exemption recognizes exactly this. It basically says that some property isn’t worth enough to be taxed. The Low-Value Ordinance Exemption deems any possessory property worth $10,000 or less exempt from being taxed. Even with the Low-Value Ordinance Exemption, however, the same problem persisted, and the government continued to lose money. County Assessors, who are nonpartisan, elected officials, have deduced that the exemption threshold of $10,000 was too low.

Enter AB 608. This bipartisan bill raises the Low-Value Ordinance Exemption to $50,000, doing several fantastic things:

For one, AB 608 takes the burden of regressive taxes off of small businesses. It saves them more money. Given that the government no longer has to collect and asses these regressive taxes, AB 608 saves the government money and time. This increases the efficiency of the government and better utilizes the County Assessor Staff operations.

Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris is very focused on education and environment. And two, as the Chair of the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee, she is extremely concerned with using taxpayer money efficiently, and in the best ways possible—holding the government accountable.

In short, this bill is great. The government saves money and time while increasing efficiency. Small businesses save more money. Taxpayers pay less.

This bill was signed into law by Governor Newsom on July 12, 2019. It will go into effect on January 1st, 2020.