The Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) had another successful year advocating for business interests in the greater Valley region and throughout the state of California. This year, VICA took positions on more than 80 bills in Sacramento and 43 of those bills were sent to the Governor’s desk. With 32 of those bills decided in favor of VICA’s advocacy efforts, we had a 74 percent success rate. Following is a brief overview of the most important bills for which VICA successfully advocated. These represent key issues that were important to the business community in the 2012 legislative session. SIGNED- Pension Reform: AB 197 (Buchanan) and AB 340 (Furutani) Voted the top legislative priority for 2012 by the VICA membership, and following a year-long battle, pension reform legislation was signed by the Governor in September. AB 197 (Buchanan) and AB 340 (Furutani) both comprise the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013. The reforms, applying only to new public employees, make a number of changes to the system, including a cap on the amount of compensation that can be used to calculate a retirement benefit, a higher retirement age, equal sharing of pension costs between employers and employees, averaging of the final three years of employment to determine benefits and other provisions. While the work on pension reform is far from finished, the package signed by Governor Brown is a historic step in the right direction. SIGNED- Film Credit Extension: AB 2026 (Fuentes) and SB 1197 (Calderon) Los Angeles County, particularly the Valley region, is the hub for film industry, which is an integral part of the California economy. The importance of keeping the industry in our region cannot be understated. A key part of ensuring that Los Angeles continues to be known for its film and television output is the California Film and Television Tax Credit. After showing that the tax credit works to create more jobs and economic activity in the Valley region and across the state, VICA advocated extending the soon-to-expire credit. AB 2026 and SB 1197 both extend the tax credit program through 2017 to ensure that California is able to attract and retain long-term filming projects in this entertainment capital. SIGNED- Advanced Manufacturing: SB 1128 (Padilla) By extending an existing sales and use tax exemption for purchases of green technology manufacturing equipment, this bill encourages advanced manufacturers to remain located in California. With the rapid industrialization across Asia and Latin America over the past two decades, more and more companies are finding the cost advantages of leaving California to be irresistible. In order for our state to remain competitive as the global leader in innovation, we must ensure manufacturers are given incentives to operate in our state. This bill will prove integral to returning California to its rightful place as the global leader in manufacturing. SIGNED- Underground Economy: SB 1479 (Pavley) As the creative capital of the world, California benefits uniquely from the entertainment industry through job creation and tax revenue. More than 600,000 illegal recordings were seized by state law enforcement last year alone. Confiscated products constitute only a fraction of the total number of illicitly-manufactured products sold on city streets and over the internet. The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. estimates $5.2 billion in annual economic losses for our county due to job loss and reduced spending caused by piracy and counterfeiting. Senator Pavley’s bill will go a long way towards solving this problem. The bill requires counterfeiters to pay restitution to the artistic and technical creators of goods victimized by the illegal sale of their products on the California black market. Loss for the Business Community The advocacy efforts of VICA and its strategic partners went unheard on one major point of contention this year. For more than a year, VICA has worked tirelessly to ensure the interests of the business community were considered when implementing a cap-and-trade program in California. The Governor signed into law both AB 1532 (Pérez) and SB 535 (de Le?n) which set guidelines for the use of revenue generated by the sale of greenhouse gas emission allowances during the cap-and-trade auction. The money will be appropriated toward green programs throughout the state, rather than reinvesting into the business community. Previously unallocated, VICA advocated that the money be returned to businesses in order to assist them in renovating their facilities to comply with emissions-reduction requirements. VICA is extremely disappointed in the results of the cap-and-trade battle and will continue to advocate on behalf of the business community to ensure the program is not burdensome on their California operations.