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BizBrief: Today’s News To Know

On April 2, City Council To Consider Creating
Ordinance Requiring Tenant Relocation Payments

Next Tuesday, April 2, Long Beach Development Services is presenting recommendations for the creation of a tenant assistance ordinance to the city council. Staff is recommending that landlords be required to make a tenant relocation assistance payment when imposing a rent increase of 10% or higher, or upon issuing a notice to vacate to tenants who do not meet certain criteria, such as failing to pay rent. The recommended payment amount would be equal to two months’ rent, based on the current Housing Authority Rent Payment Standards for a similar unit size in the same ZIP code. If the city council follows staff recommendations, the ordinance would apply to multi-family rental properties with four or more units, and relocation assistance would be payable to households earning less than 120% of the area’s median income. Staff is also recommending a number of new city-funded programs, including emergency housing vouchers and a security deposit assistance program for seniors. A report going to the council includes other options for consideration beyond the staff recommendations.

California Chamber of Commerce Speaks Out Against Carbon-Based Sales Tax
During a hearing of the California State Senate Environmental Quality Committee on March 20, the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) expressed its opposition to carbon-based sales tax legislation, Senate Bill 43. The bill, which passed the committee, would require the California Air Resources Board to design a sales tax model based on the “carbon intensity” of retail products. CalChamber argued that the bill “threatens retail and manufacturing jobs by creating a cumbersome and arbitrary regulatory process,” according to a press release. In her testimony to the committee, CalChamber Policy Advocate Leah Silverthorn asked senators to “evaluate mechanisms to ensure that a retail carbon tax avoids a regressive impact on low-income individuals and communities, and whether it is fair to apply a carbon-based tax to retail goods but not other sectors of the economy.” Silverthorn further implored senators to study the bill’s potential economic impact and the effect it may have on transportation infrastructure funds.

Passenger Traffic Is Down At LGB For Fifth Consecutive Month
The total number of passengers departing and arriving at Long Beach Airport (LGB) in February fell 18.1% year-over-year, from 306,233 in 2018 to 250,698 in 2019. The volume of inbound and outbound cargo increased 19.7% over the same time period, from 1,367 tons in 2018 to 1,636 tons in 2019. February marks the fifth consecutive month in which the airport’s passenger traffic decreased while cargo traffic increased.

Cap-And-Trade Raises Over $1 Billion For State Community Projects
California’s cap-and-trade program raised more than $1.3 billion in funding for community enhancement projects in 2018, according to a new report from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the state’s department of finance. Established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time, cap-and-trade has appropriated $9.3 billion for California agencies since the state adopted the program in 2012. More than one-third of this funding has been directed to community projects across the state, according to CARB. State revenue from cap-and-trade is invested in multiple areas, including affordable housing, ecosystem restoration and renewable energy development. The California Climate Investments website states that “[a]t least 35% of these investments are made in disadvantaged communities and low-income communities.”

Long Beach Water Creates Major Incentives To Ditch Turf Lawns
Upgrades are coming to the Long Beach Water Department’s lawn-to-garden (L2G) turf removal program, made possible by new funding from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The L2G program was created to increase water efficiency by replacing grass lawns with California native plants. Starting April 1, the city will pay residents $3 per square foot of turf removed (an increase from $2 per square foot) for up to 5,000 square feet. For the first time, backyard and side-yard incentives are being offered for up to $2 per square foot. The conversion incentive for commercial property owners has been doubled, increasing from $1 to $2 per square foot for a maximum area of 50,000 square feet.

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