Despite Petty Sacramento Politics, San Bruno Relief Bill Approved

October 08, 2010

Yee's name stripped from bill after taking principal stand against devastating budget cuts

SACRAMENTO - This morning, petty politics in Sacramento nearly torpedoed legislation to provide disaster relief for the affected families of the San Bruno fires and to assist the County of San Mateo, City of San Bruno, and local schools.

After Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) refused to vote for devastating budget cuts to education, social services, and health care, the Senate killed his San Bruno relief bill in order to remove his authorship of the legislation. A new bill was introduced without Yee's name and was passed with bipartisan support after Yee told his colleagues the issue was too important and that the bill should still be approved despite being stripped from him.

This was not the first time a bill was taken from Yee after he took a principled stand against the budget. Last year, after he voted against severe budget cuts to critical services and education, his authorship was stripped from a bill to restore $16.3 million in funding for domestic violence shelters and centers throughout California.

"I am deeply disappointed that petty Sacramento politics and end-of-session drills were again put before the lives of victims," said Yee. "However, I am pleased that the Legislature provided some much-needed relief for the families of San Bruno and I was proud to introduce this bill. While our community can never be fully compensated for this tragedy, this bill will help families rebuild their lives."

Despite Yee's staunch opposition, the state budget was inevitably approved.

In response to the state budget, Yee said: "At a time when many California families are struggling to just put food on the table, government and the state budget needs to work for them. While I appreciate the effort put in to develop a budget deal, I can not support further devastation to our schools, social services, and health care. The brutal reality is that many of our poor, elderly and most vulnerable individuals simply will not survive this budget. Enough is enough - our students, seniors, and working Californians deserve better."

The San Bruno relief bill is similar to previously approved legislation to assist other communities such as those impacted by the fires in southern California.

Specifically the bill would allow a continuation of the $7,000 property tax exemption for homeowners who would have qualified for the exemption if their home had not been damaged or destroyed. In addition, the bill allows taxpayers (personal and business) to deduct income loss as result of the incident.

Finally, the bill includes assistance to the County of San Mateo, City of San Bruno, and local schools by providing a one-year reimbursement from the State for any tax losses related to the lower property assessments of damaged or destroyed homes.

Following an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and a responsible party determined, the responsible entity would then have to pay back the state for the cost of SBx6 21.

"Now more than ever, local services are needed to assist children, families and the elderly," said Yee. "The last thing our local governments and schools can afford is less revenue to provide these necessary services. This bill will ensure they are made whole."

The bill must now be signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) in order to become law.

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Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,
(916) 651-4008