Summer is in full swing and the Legislature is on Summer Recess, but that doesn’t mean the work has stopped! We have a very busy month ahead. As the 2017 Legislative Session nears an end, I will continue to fight against the last minute anti-Valley bills that are sure to surface.
I am happy to share that Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 70 has been introduced, recognizing August 2017 as National Eye Exam Month in California.
In 1989, Sears Optical dedicated August as National Eye Exam Month, with the intent of raising awareness about the need for regular eye exams and the benefit that good eye health can have on one’s overall health.
National Eye Exam Month is one that truly hits home for me. Since 2014 I have teamed up with VSP Vision Care, Adventist Health, and the Kings Community Action Organization to provide nearly 700 people with free eye exams, and if needed, glasses, to disadvantaged communities across the Central Valley.
Having an opportunity to not only raise awareness about the need for a comprehensive eye exam, but also provide underserved Valley residents with a chance to receive these crucial exams is a true honor and I am proud to continue serving the Valley and spreading the word about how healthy eyes can help facilitate a healthy body.
For more information during National Eye Exam Month, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@SenAndyVidak) to receive updates and daily facts about eyes and eye health!
I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and stay cool!
August Mobile District Office Hours
Members of Andy’s staff will be holding Mobile District Office Hours in the following communities during August:
Mobile District Office hours are an opportunity for Senate District 14 residents to meet locally with a Team Vidak representative to hear more about Andy’s work in Sacramento and the Central Valley, have their questions answered or get help with specific state-related issues, including:
- unemployment benefits;
- issues with state agencies, such as the DMV and Franchise Tax Board;
- small business assistance;
- worker’s compensation;
- state legislation; and
- other state-related matters.
For more information, please contact Team Vidak’s Felisa Hannah at (559) 264-3070 or email Felisa.Hannah@sen.ca.gov.
August is Valley Fever Awareness Month
Avoid Dust to Avoid the Disease!
I am proud to be working with Senators Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) and Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) on Senate Concurrent Resolution 72, declaring August 2017 as Valley Fever Awareness Month.
Let’s fight back against Valley Fever by knowing more about this illness and taking steps to avoid exposure.
According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Valley Fever is a disease caused by exposure to a fungus found predominately in Central Valley soil.
Exposure occurs when a person breathes in contaminated dust or dirt. This exposure could result in mild flu-like symptoms, and can even lead to a very serious illness that can cause chronic pneumonia, meningitis, or other infections in a small percentage of people.
In 2016, 5,372 new cases of Valley Fever were reported to the CDPH. This is a statewide incidence rate of 13.7 cases per 100,000 people. The largest number of cases and highest incidence rate in 2016 were in Kern County where more than 2,200 cases, or more than 250 cases per 100,000 people, were reported.
You can find more information about Valley Fever and ways to limit your exposure, please visit the CDPH website.
Team Vidak Out & About
Click on the photos below to read more about what’s happening in our Communities.
Board of Equalization Gets a Makeover
Each year the California Legislature is tasked with passing a budget by June 15th. Over the years, crafty politicians have figured out a way to use the budget process (budget trailer bills) to sneak massive policy changes through, without ever having to go to a policy committee. This year was no different; in a budget trailer bill (AB 102) the Democratic controlled Legislature voted to restructure the Board of Equalization (BOE) into three separate entities. As a result, massive changes are underway at the BOE and I wanted to make sure you are aware of them.
The BOE will remain an independent entity headed by its five-member board and will continue performing its constitutionally-assigned duties: reviewing, equalizing or adjusting property tax assessments; assessing taxes on insurers; and assessing and collecting excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. The board will continue to hear current and new appeals on all tax and fee matters until December 31, 2017.
Starting January 1, 2018, appeals of all tax matters, other than those constitutionally assigned to the BOE, will be heard by the newly created Office of Tax Appeals (OTA). OTA appeals will include: franchise and personal income taxes, sales and use taxes, and other special taxes. Each appeal will be heard by a panel consisting of three administrative law judges.
There will be a newly created California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). It will be part of the governor’s administration and report to the Government Operations Agency.
During the transition period (July 1 – December 31, 2017), people paying taxes and fees should continue to file and make payments to the BOE as regularly scheduled. The BOE appeals process also remains the same through the end of the year. As changes are made to these processes they will be announced and posted on the new CDTFA website.
If you have questions about a tax issue or appeal during the transitional period, contact the BOE Call Center for simple questions or a referral to a new department. For more serious or complex issues contact the office of the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate. Of course, you also can contact one of my offices, and we’ll be pleased to assist you.
Phone numbers for questions regarding taxes, fees and tax and fee appeals:
- BOE Call Center: 800-400-7115
- Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate: 888-324-2798
- Office of Sen. Andy Vidak:
- Bakersfield: (661) 395-2620
- Fresno: (559) 264-3070
- Hanford: (559) 585-7161
- Sacramento: (916) 651-4014
August Legislative Calendar Highlights
8/21 Legislature Reconvenes from Summer Recess
8/21 Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
8/22 Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Hearing – State Capitol
8/24 Senate Floor Session – State Capitol
8/28 Senate Floor Session – State Capitol