Quake retro­fit tax credit stalls

Law­mak­ers omit from their state bud­get plan a bill to de­fray costs for prop­erty own­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Rong-Gong Lin II and Rosanna Xia ron.lin@la­times.com rosanna.xia@la­times.com

A pro­posed state tax credit to ease the bur­den of seis­mi­cally retrofitting vul­ner­a­ble build­ings failed to make it out of a key com­mit­tee in Sacra­mento thisweek, call­ing its prospects into ques­tion.

Sen­a­tors on the Leg­is­la­ture’s Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee, which rec­on­ciles As­sem­bly and Se­nate bud­get pro­pos­als, chose not to in­clude the earth­quake retro­fit tax credit in the bud­get they will send to the gover­nor, said Dan Sav­age, chief of staff to As­sem­bly­man Adrin Nazar­ian (D-Sher­man Oaks), who in­tro­duced the leg­is­la­tion.

State Sen. Mark Leno (D San Fran­cisco), who chairs the Se­nate Bud­get Com­mit­tee, de­clined to com­ment on the de­ci­sion.

Nazar­ian’s pro­posal would give prop­erty own­ers a 30% tax break on the cost of the seis­mic retrofitting.

His staff in­sisted that, de­spite the set­back, the pro­posal is not dead.

The As­sem­bly ver­sion of the tax break pro­posal, AB 428, passed last­week, 78 to 0.

To reach a vote in the Se­nate, it would need to get through the Se­nate’s Gov­er­nance and Fi­nance Com­mit­tee, chaired by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), and then the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, chaired by Sen. Ri­cardo Lara (D-Bell Gar­dens).

Nazar­ian said he plans to keep fight­ing.

“We’re pro­tect­ing life,” he said. “We’re help­ing strengthen prop­erty and, third, we’re ac­tu­ally help­ing in­cen­tivize at least a mod­icum amount of job­growth in the build­ing in­dus­try.”

The tax credit idea has been en­dorsed by the may­ors of Los An­ge­les, San Fran­cisco, Oak­land, Berke­ley and Santa Mon­ica. In Los An­ge­les, Mayor Eric Garcetti has pro­posed new city rules that would re­quire the retrofits of thou­sands of con­crete and wooden build­ings.

“The phys­i­cal threat of death or in­jury fromvul­ner­a­ble build­ings is real,” the five may­ors wrote to Leno.

Many apart­ments in Los An­ge­les are in “soft-story build­ings” — wood-frame struc­tures that have flimsy col­umns atop car­ports on the ground floor. Th­ese weak sup­ports have col­lapsed in pre­vi­ous earth­quakes, some­times killing res­i­dents on the bot­tom floor.

Un­der the bill, the tax credit would be given to an owner over a pe­riod of five years af­ter the retrofitting was com­pleted. For ev­ery $100 own­ers spent on a qual­i­fied retro­fit, they would re­ceive a $30 break on in­come or cor­po­ra­tions taxes.

Work el­i­gi­ble for the tax break would in­clude retrofitting wood-frame apart­ment build­ings and con­crete res­i­den­tial build­ings, in­stalling au­to­matic gas shut-off valves, an­chor­ing sin­gle fam­ily homes to foun­da­tions and in­stalling quake-re­sis­tant brac­ing sys­tems for mo­bile homes.

The tax credit would be in ef­fect from 2016 through 2020.

Nazar­ian has also separately asked bud­get ne­go­tia­tors to ex­pand a pro­gram that gives Cal­i­for­nia home­own­ers grants of up to $3,000 to seis­mi­cally retro­fit sin­gle­fam­ily homes.

The Leg­is­la­ture’s Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee ap­proved a $3-mil­lion-a-year in­crease for two years.

The pro­gram, called Brace and Bolt, is ex­pected to spend nearly $2 mil­lion on grants that would help pay for 650 homes to be retro­fit­ted this year.

The pro­gram is avail­able in 28 ZIP Codes in the San Fran­cisco and Los An­ge­les ar­eas, and there are plans to ex­pand into ad­di­tional ar­eas.

Sin­gle-fam­ily homes built be­fore 1979 that have a hand­ful of above-ground steps some­times are not bolted to their foun­da­tions and can slide off dur­ing quakes.

Katie Falken­berg For The Times

THE MEA­SURE would give own­ers a 30% tax break on the cost of seis­mi­cally retrofitting their prop­erty. Above, Pablo Coc retrofits a house in Los An­ge­les.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.