Last year, media companies including the Walt Disney Co. and Time-Warner Inc., parent of Burbank’s Warner Bros. Studios, spent millions of dollars to help defeat California’s Proposition 24. Now a key part of the measure is back in a different form, pushed by state Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles).
Proposition 24, among other provisions, would have eliminated the ability of companies to choose between two formulas for calculating corporate income taxes.
In California, companies can choose between paying based on their in-state sales or on a formula that factors in sales, property and payroll. The option was a perk packed into last-minute budget negotiations between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and top legislative leaders in February 2009.
Funded primarily by the California Teachers Assn., Proposition 24 sought to undo the deal. Time-Warner contributed $1.5 million to the “No on 24” campaign, according to state campaign finance records, and Disney added $1.4 million. Biotech firms concerned with another aspect of the measure poured in funds, and the initiative lost, 58% to 42%.
De Leon has revived part of the proposition, making it mandatory for companies to use the so-called single sales factor. According to the state legislative analyst’s office, the measure’s major impact would be on companies that manufacture products elsewhere, but that have significant sales in California.
The analyst’s January report found the shift would raise as much as $1 billion a year for the state and could cause a “small but noticeable increase” in California jobs.
De Leon spokesman Greg Hayes said the report “confirmed our suspicions: making [the single sales factor] optional hurts California companies and the expansion of jobs here.”
Hayes said De Leon is lining up business support for the measure from firms that see outside manufacturers, such as Microsoft, as benefiting disproportionately from the current setup. He also said lawmakers are open to a change, because of the state’s gaping deficit and because they had little say in the 2009 tax deal.
“We’re facing a dire situation,” Hayes said. “Do we want to go find $1 billion in cuts, or close a corporate loophole for out-of-state companies?”
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. declined to comment on the bill, and a Disney spokesperson did not return calls.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), who supports the bill, said he thinks media companies might see the benefit of a change.
“A number of American companies have no presence in California at all,” Gatto said, but they have sales here and benefit from the current system.
De Leon’s bill, he said, would “put everyone on a level playing field.”
Krekorian up for re-election in L.A.
Paul Krekorian, who represented Burbank and Glendale as a state assemblyman from 2006 to 2009, is up for re-election next month for his seat on the Los Angeles City Council. The race promises to be very different from the expensive campaign involving a slew of candidates two years ago.
His only rival in the race to be decided March 8 is Democrat Augusto Bisani, who also ran in the 2009 race to represent District 2, which includes North Hollywood, Studio City, Sunland and Tujunga.
Krekorian, a former member of the Burbank Board of Education, has a wealth of endorsements in the race, including the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, L.A. County Democratic Party, the L.A. County Federation of Labor and the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. Krekorian has raised $42,000 so far, according to campaign finance records, a fraction of what he needed in 2009.
Bisani is putting more effort into this race than he did in 2009, according to campaign manager David Hernandez, but has raised only about $5,000. Bisani, a native of Italy, owns Bravo Systems Intl. in North Hollywood, an importer of pizza ovens and cappuccino machines.
Bisani’s campaign themes include his life experience as a small-business owner and immigrant, Hernandez said, “and his sense of openness and commitment.
“It may seem kind of corny, but the reception amongst voters has really been positive.”
The election is March 9.
Democratic Club to talk campaign finance
At its next meeting, the Burbank Democratic Club will review the state of public campaign finance measures, which advocates say would reduce the influence of special interests in legislative races.
Donovon Steufel of the California Clean Money Campaign will address Measure H, a campaign reform proposal on the March 8 Los Angeles city ballot, as well as state and national reform efforts.
The meeting takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Burbank Senior Artists Colony Theatre, 240 E. Verdugo Ave. For more information, call (818) 515-5908, or visit www.burbankdemocraticclub.com.
Legislators co-sponsor job fair at Dodger Stadium
The event is co-sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D- La Cañada Flintridge), state Sen. Carol Liu (D- La Cañada Flintridge), several local lawmakers and the state Employment Development Department.
About 100 companies or government agencies are expected to have representatives at the field-level concourse in the stadium. In the past, the fair has drawn as many as 10,000 people.
Job seekers are encouraged to dress for success and bring their resumes. A mobile van will help people crank out resumes on the spot. Parking is free, and a free shuttle will run from Sunset Boulevard at Elysian Park to the stadium.
For more information, call (323) 224-1466.