San Francisco Peninsula Members Discuss Unlicensed Contracting And Other Issues With Assemblymember Rich Gordon
CLCA Members and Assemblymember Rich Gordon Pose for Picture after Productive Meeting in Legislator’s Los Altos District Office. Left to right: Larry Scott of Integrity Landscape Services Inc., San Jose; Kevin Burns, CLT, of Maximum Service Landscaping Inc., Daly City; Assemblymember Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park); Frank Manocchio of Land Escapes, Redwood City; Jeff Sheehan of Confidence Landscaping Inc., Campbell; and James Walker of Landsculpt, Menlo Park.
Last month a delegation of members from CLCA's San Francisco Bay Area Chapter met with Assemblymember Rich Gordon (D-Menlo park) in his district office to introduce themselves and discuss issues of importance to landscape contractors.
Larry Scott, the president of San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, organized the effort in response to a request from CLCA's Legislation Committee, which has decided to coordinate meetings between selected legislators and their CLCA-member constituents instead of sponsoring a Legislative Action Conference in Sacramento this year. The committee selected Assemblymember Gordon for the first meeting, in part because he chairs the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee, which reviews proposed legislation dealing with Contractors' License Law. The goal is to build relationships between CLCA members and legislators who are key to the association's advocacy objectives.
CLCA Headquarters supplied the delegation with an information packet that included two issue papers. One of the papers was devoted to Senate Bill 263. This measure, authored by state Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), would resolve inconsistencies in the current definitions of "duly licensed" and "unlicensed" contractor in order to improve the Contractors State License Board's ability to protect consumers and correct abuses in the way civil penalties for unlicensed contracting are being applied against law-abiding contractors. SB 263 is sponsored by the board and is strongly supported by CLCA. The other paper was devoted to the subject of extending the sales tax to services. Although no legislation to extend the sales tax to services has been introduced in 2013 to date, the issue of "tax reform" continues to be of interest to lawmakers from both political parties. Historically, any time tax reform is brought up, the discussion turns to extending the sales tax to at least some subset of business services. CLCA's issue paper pointed out that taxing construction and landscape maintenance services would make it even harder than it is now for law-abiding contractors to compete against the underground economy. The members participating in the meeting explained to Assemblymember Gordon how the issues dealt with in the papers would affect their own businesses.
CLCA's legislative advocate, Parke Terry, participated in the meeting and led the discussion.
According to Kevin Burns, a CLCA member who participated, "The meeting at Assemblymember Gordon's district office was much more informal than it would have been in his office in Sacramento since there was no one else waiting in the wings to grab a few minutes of his time. As a result, we were able to sit and talk for the better part of an hour and casually provide our experience on a variety of issues concerning our industry."
"In all, the meeting was very productive, and I believe we all felt that Mr. Gordon is one assemblymember who will be glad to reach out to CLCA in the future and welcome our input on matters of importance to him and us," continued Burns.
"And of course, for those of us newer to becoming involved in the political process, this was a wonderful introduction to getting involved," he added. "We all have a voice, and it's important we communicate it to our elected officials so that they can best represent their constituents. This is the whole purpose of CLCA's new approach—to make the process of meeting with our legislators a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Next time CLCA puts out the call, please consider taking a few hours out of your busy schedule to get involved!"
For more information about CLCA, log on to www.clca.org.