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July 7, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, July 7, 2010 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE County focuses on unreported transient occupancy tax WHERE I STAND SUSAN BRYANT-GRANT PLUMAS COUNTY TREASURER- TAX COLLECTOR In these economic times Plumas County is striving to make ends meet and we are looking for any source of rev- enue that might have been overlooked. In the tax collector's office, we strive to pursue collection of any money owed to the county, but we are currently focusing this summer on un- reported Transient Occupan- cy Tax. TOT revenues are deposit- ed in the county General Fund and benefit all the citizens who reside in Plumas County. It seems there are many misconcep- tions regarding TOT that I would like to clarify. Of the 58 counties in Cali- fornia, only 11 have a lower TOT rate than Plumas; the lowest is Trinity County with a rate of 5 percent. Our Board of Supervisors raised the TOT rate from 4 percent to 6 percent Nov. 13, 1979, and again from 6 percent to 9 percent Oct. 16, 1990. Anyone who knows or sus- pects an owner/operator is operating a rental but is not collecting TOT, the treasurer- tax collector's office has es- tablished an anonymous "hot- line" to call and report the ad- dress of the rental. Simply call (800) 639-2989 and give us the address. No questions will be asked -- we do not have caller ID and the tax collec- tor's staff will investigate each "tip". TOT is a tax on the actual rate that an owner/operator charges for a rental of 30 days or less. The owner/operators of rentals are required to collect TOT based upon the provisions of the County Code (Sections 3-4.01 to 3-4.14). A copy of the code is available on the Plumas County website (plumascounty.'us), or get a copy by contacting the Plumas County Tax Collector's office. It is important to note that collection of the tax is on be- half of the county, just as sales tax is collected on behalf of the state. The funds belong to the county and are to be held "in trust" for the county until such time as they are submitted along with the necessary quar- terly tax return. An operator's failure to hold taxes in trust may subject the operator to prosecution for felony embez- zlement of public funds by the district attorney. Within 10 days after com- mencing business, each own- er/operator of a rental within the incorporated areas of the county who rents lodgings to transients must register the lodging with the tax collector. The registration form and tax returns are available online at plumascoun- ty.us/Treasurer Forms. Owners/operators should file a return each quarter, even if the business is closed. They must simply write "None'or "Closed" on the tax return and file it timely. A lodging includes but is not limited to: motel, hotel, vacation home, bed and breakfast, rooming house, apartment house, mobile home park, recreational vehi- cle park, campground or parking area. In some counties in Califor- nia, state and federal employ- ees are exempt, but as of Jan. 1, 1991, Plumas County does not allow exemptions of TOT to anyone, except any occu- pancy that is beyond the pow- er of the county to impose the tax or an officer or employee ; of a foreign government. Any- one renting for more than 30 consecutive days is also ex- empt from the tax. The city of Portola also col- lects TOT within the city lim- its. Contact the city of Portola for more information on its requirements. If you have any questions regarding this tax, I welcome you to call my staff or me at 283-6260. Measure puts fiscal responsibility ahead of global warming WHERE I STAND DAN LOGUE ASSEMBLYMAN 3RD ASSEMBLY DISTRICT If you had a choice between paying several thousand dol- lars a year in higher utility, fuel, food and other costs, and temporarily postponing an ineffective global warming law until the economy im- proves, it would be a simple decision, right? Well, thanks to the 800,000 voters who signed petitions to put the California Jobs Ini- tiative on the November bal- lot, voters will actually have a chance to make that choice. The California Jobs Initia- tive is a common-sense proposition that will tem- porarily suspend implemen- tation of AB 32, the state's global warming law, until our unemployment rate re- turns to a level closer to where it was when the law was originally adopted by the Legislature. If successful, the initiative will save over a million jobs and save California business- es and families billions of dol- lars in higher energy and oth- er costs resulting from regu- lations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas, or carbon, emissions associated with global warming. Here's why: AB 32 requires a radical shift in where Cali- fornia gets its energy, necessi- tating huge investments in al. ternative power sources such as wind, solar and hydrogen. It's estimated the transition will cause gasoline and diesel prices to increase by $3.7 bil- lion a year, natural gas rates to go up by 57 percent a year, and electricity rates to rise by up to 60 percent. Other AB 32 regulations are expected to increase the cost of a new home by $50,000 and add several thousand dol- lars to the price of a new car. The Air Resources Board is considering a cap-and-trade carbon tax of $143 billion. Those higher energy costs will translate to increased overhead for businesses large and small, who will pass all or part of that cost onto their customers in the form of higher prices not only for utilities and fuel but just about everything we use on daily basis, such as food. Those higher prices are likely to result in a downturn in business, which in turn will lead to over a million lost jobs, according to a recent study. It's bad enough that these billions in higher costs and loss of a million jobs would come at the worst possible time, considering there are almost 2.3 million Californi- ans already unemployed, our state's chronic $20 billion budget deficit and hundreds of billions in debt. But AB 32, which was created specifical- ly to help reduce global warming, won't make one bit of difference in terms of .worldwide greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Because global warming is a "global" challenge, and be- cause California accounts for a minuscule percentage of all greenhouse gas emissions, AB 32 on its own can't make a dif- ference in global warming. The California Air Resources Board itself has conceded: "Califorfiia acting alone can- not reduce emissions suffi- ciently to change the course of climate change worldwide." California indeed would be acting alone if we implement AB 32 as currently scheduled. Other states and other na- tions have dramatically downsized their climate change plans in recognition of the fact that their economies just can't sustain the costs necessary to mean- ingfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I recently asked Califor- nia's non-partisan Legisla- tive Analyst's Office to evalu- ate what the impact of going it alone with AB 32 would be on our state's economy. The response was disturbing. The LAO found that Cali- fornia-only implementation of AB 32 would be likely to adversely affect California's economy in the near term be- cause of the related energy price increases. This would in turn result in higher prices for goods and services and reduced production, in- come and jobs. The LAO has reported else- where that suspending AB 32 would save local govern- ments and the state millions in costs, and prevent loss of tax revenues as well. One other important fact: AB 32 deals only with carbon emissions, which while asso- ciated with global warming present no threat to public health or the environment. California already has the strictest laws in the county to protect our air and water from smog and other pollu- tants, and those laws will re- main intact under the Cali- fornia Jobs Initiative. Unfortunately, the gover- nor, the Legislature and the Air Resources Board have steadfastly refused to inter- vene in the timing of entirely symbolic global warming reg- ulations that could turn our state's current economic cri- sis into a permanent finan- cial disaster. That's why the California Jobs Initiative is so impor- tant. It will protect over a million jobs and save Califor- nia families and businesses billions of dollars in higher energy costs. Considering we'd be spending that money and sacrificing those jobs for a global warming law that won't do anything to reduce global warming, it should be an easy choice for California voters. L E T T E R S t 0 e E D I T O R Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an address and a phone number. We publish only one letter per week, per 3erson and only one letter per person, per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The ed- itor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words.The deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed at mail@plumasnews.com Win one... The outstandingly wonder- ful news is that the U.S. Supreme Court, after 230 years, has supported the Sec- ond Amendment to the Con- stitution by determining that the founders of the Con- stitution meant exactly what they said in that no law shall be passed which shall limit or prevent the citizen's right to own and bear arms. In this landmark case, a pri- vate citizen had to sue the city of Chicago which had a restrictive law which pre- vented him from being able to protect his own person and property. As of yesterday (June 28) all cities, townships, coun- ties and states will have to repeal their restrictive laws. Now the bad news ... also as of yesterday, the federal government announced its intention to restrict and/or take away the rights of U.S. citizens to access the Inter- net ... all in the name of keeping us safe ... like Joe Lieberman said "like the Chinese do." Exactly! That's why we don't want this and why the founders estab- lished our right to freedom of speech and press as the First Amendment to the Constitution. I urge you to write your legislators immediately to ask them to protest this. Lastly, as I hastily read the newspaper of this week (June 23) on my way out of town, it was shocking to dis- cover that our Board of Su- pervisors has agreed that the probation department may apply for a grant or two (one for about $56,000, and one for $155,000), which grants will not necessarily be available in the future, in exchange for taking prison- ers into our community which are out on early re- lease because the state is out of space and out of money. In the same paper, our BOS voted to cut money to tourism. If I read it correct- ly, write immediately to the Board of Supervisors (ad- dress in front of phonebook). Sherry Halverson Portola Golden grads The Quincy High School class of 1960 has just com- pleted our 50th-year class re- union and proved once again that we know how to party and can still enjoy it! We spent four days visit- ing with each other; planting petunias at the Plumas County Fairgrounds; pre- senting three seniors from the class of 2010 with nearly $4,000 in scholarships; visit- ing with each other and telling jokes; touring QHS' new Trojan Terrace, new gym floor (some of our re- tired cheerleaders even tried it out!); attending the "Lace & Leather" art show at the newest art gallery down- town; visiting with each oth- er and reminiscing; and at- tending the Elks "Graffiti Night" where we supported the local Elk's club. We also supported the lo- cal Lions Club at its annual pancake breakfast at the Plumas County Picnic; we helped Tom Hasty (class of '54) to register new and old graduates who came to the all alumni booth to visit and reminisce; some of us en- joyed the Sierra Cascade Streetrodders Car Show; many of us supported local business by eating lunch at the local vendors booths at the fairgrounds or having lunch, dinner and or drinks at restaurants and drinking establishments downtown. We gathered at the Elk's club for a professional photo of the group and several re- tired teachers from our era done by the proprietor of the Eagle's Nest, Carla DeBoer. Then we enjoyed a very nice dinner prepared by the Elks. The evening was rounded out with more visiting as all the graduates were now gathered and we had not seen several of them since 1960! There was also some dancing to some of the best music ever written from the 1950s and '60s. Many memo- ries were stirred that night! Sunday was our final re- union get-together at a BY- OB (bring your own break- fast) at Gansner Park. It was hard to break away and go back to a "normal" routine. I think I can speak for the class of 1960 to say that this was truly an event to re- member. Those that were not able to come and those that did not try to come just missed out. We hope to see you in 2015! Sherry McKee Golden Grad 2010 Keeper I have lived in Chester since 1975, and have seen re- porters come and go over the years. It's always this read- er's pleasure to find one who can report on complex issues and make the essence under- standable. Kate West is one such re- porter. She writes objective- ly, fairly and always clearly. In my book, Kate is a "keep- er," and I hope we get to en- joy her articles for many years. Bill Howe Chester Pretty obvious Why cap the tax? Reasons are pretty obvious. All you need to do is read the news- paper headlines, turn on the television or simply speak to your neighbor. There are county cutbacks, salaries be- ing cut, people losing jobs or VACATION, from page lOB Grand Canal. OMG, I am in Venice." It was everything I ever dreamed of: beautiful, lyric, romantic and very, very old. The buildings lean conspirato- rially toward each other for a cozy chat over narrow streets and canals. We waded through St. Mark's Square at high tide to visit Harry's Bar for a $25 cocktail (each) amongst the literati. We walked the small neighborhoods around the Arsenale and visited the Rialto Bridge. We went by water taxi to Murano, the famous glassblowing island, for a tour of beautiful things. The gentleman who gave a glassblow- ing demonstration began his work when he was 9 -- he's now 68. In mere moments, he produced a small vase and a Ferrari stallion that he shrugged off as nothing special and headed for the scrap heap. I'd have happily taken either. Despite my best efforts, the beautiful $1,000 Murano vase still sits on the showroom shelf. I carried the $400 water glasses from Murano to home carefully wrapped. They are beautiful things. Although there are no cars, the boats fulfill every function: there are crane boats, delivery boats, garbage boats, family boats, gondola, vaporetti, police boats and shops on boats -- even the ambulance is a boat. My mom always says the two most important words in the English lan- guage are "please" and "thank you." I can tell you "prego" and "grazie" are in- valuable; they opened doors to under- standing that would have been other- wise shut. hours of work being re- duced. Our families, friends and fellow business owners are struggling right now to maintain their wellbeing. We are cutting back and go- ing without where we can -- just to remain in our homes or to continue to rent the home we've been living in. So I can't understand why Plumas District Hospital and the "Save The Hospital" sup- porters keep insisting that we need a new hospital in these hard economic times. Where do they think we property owners are going to come up with the unlimited tax money? "Save The Hospi- tal" supporters can continue to pay the tax if they feel so strongly about "building at any cost." If Measure B is successful, will they still put their money where their pas- sion is? Many of us simply cannot afford this. What can Mr. Coates, Mr. Kinne and Mr. Terhune say to a person who legitimately cannot pay thc tax? We can't cut back anymore, so where will this extra money come from? Our community shouldn't be persuaded into building a new hospital right now for. fear of it being closed. Per-i haps gradual upgrades and i maintenance are more ap-! propriate right now. ! None of the Measure B I supporters, including my family, want to see the hos-! pital close or see employees i lose jobs. When the economy I gets better we will considerl helping out the hospitali where we can, but, in the! meantime, we need to look i out for our family's financial I well-being. That's why we'rei voting yes on Measure B to! support capping the tax. ', Heather Alexander! Meadow Valley: See Letters, page 12B Contact your elected officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 2&3-6170; FAX: (530) 28,3-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@countyofplumas.com Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, i countyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: 202456-2461. E-mail: whitehouse.gov / contact / U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710 E-mail: go to website "feinstein.senate.gov." U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 1 St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563; OR 112 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 228-0454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 4TH DIST. - Tom McClintock. 508 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-2511; FAX (202) 225-5444. mcclintock.house.gov. District office 4230 Douglas Blvd., Suite #200, Granite Bay, CA 95746. (916) 786-5560, FAX: (916) 786-6364 STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Dave Cox (R), District office: 2140 Professional Dr., #140, Roseville, CA, 95661. (916) 783-8232, FAX (916) 783-5487; OR: State Capital, Room 2068, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680; assemblymember.cox@assemby.ca.gov; Quincy office: 2094 E. Main St., Quincy, 530-283-3437. FAX 283-3439. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 3RD DIST. - Dan Logue, State Capital, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 319-2003; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 1550 tiumboldt Rd., Ste. #4, Chico, CA 95928; (530) 895-4217, FAX (530) 8954219. GOVERNOR - Arnold Schwarzenegger, office of the Governor, State i Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160. ii gov.ca.gov / interact# contact