Making Democracy Work

Interview with Assemblymember Kansen Chu

2017 Interview

Assemblymember Kansen Chu Legislative Interview February 10, 2017. League of Women Voters of Fremont-Newark-Union City, San Jose-Santa Clara

Question #1 Funding of Elections: What legislative measures would you support to ensure adequate and stable funding of election administration in California?

Assemblymember Chu co-authored a bill requiring the Registrar of Voters to pay postage for Mail-In-Ballots. He also supports AB14 Clean Money legislation. He supports updating aging voting equipment. Assemblymember Chu has co-authored a bill requiring the Registrar of Voters pay for return postage on Mail-In-Ballots. Cost of ballot mail-back varies from election to election. This should make going to PO to find return postage less onerous. At a minimum the Government should at least print the amount of return postage needed on envelope. Santa Clara Co now pays return postage. Alameda tells post office not to return envelope even if no stamps. Assemblymember Chu supports the Clean Money legislation AB 14. by Gomez and thinks that new members of the Assembly will support it this year. County Registrar of Voters should be encouraged to address the issue of aging voting equipment although there has been no reported fraud. There is a pilot program to have the State pay the return postage on Vote By Mail ballots.

Question #2: Public Higher Education: How can California meet the challenge of enrolling more students, including students with greater needs, at the UC and CSU? Is more state funding needed? Where does this issue rank in your legislative priorities?

Assemblymember Chu supports closing loopholes in Prop 13 by building a two tiered system, one for home ownership, one for commercial/industrial buildings. Assemblymember Chu thinks that taxing internet sales and other non-brick and mortar sales is an avenue to pursue. Assemblymember Chu indicated that Governor Brown is trying to eliminate help to middle class families, causing more problems in California. The Assemblymember is trying to help middle class by increasing upper amount of income allowed for students receiving grants. Now more than 55% of state budget is for education (includes K-12) to add more to education reduces help in other areas. Need to close loopholes in areas to bring in more money to fund programs.

1) Need to really look at prop. 13 -- not to hurt home owners having the exemption. Need to make a two tiered tax program - separate home ownership from commercial/industrial buildings. Home property changes hands more often than Commercial property. The transaction of Home Ownership changing hands is much more straightforward than that of Commercial Property Ownership change. The example of Commercial Property change is that it is confusing and old owner can be paid but still retain some ownership blocking revaluing property for tax purposes.

2) Need to rework taxing internet sales and other non-store businesses (air B/B, Lift, Uber etc.) DeLeon is interested in increasing money to UC and CSU. The legislative asked the universities to increase the number of Californians admitted. He is especially interested in a middle-class scholarship. 55% of the budget is used for education, k-12 and higher education. Assemblyman Chu is interested in closing loopholes in proposition 13 on commercial and industrial property. He talked of split role and split tax. The latter should be very simple to install. When asked the chances of closing these loopholes, he said zero. He didn't mention any other tax to increase state funding for higher ed. Chu is interested in the Homeless, water conservation and transportation needs. Education is in the 2nd layer.

Question #3: Water Resources: What kinds of legislative proposals would you support to ensure that enough water of adequate quality is available for municipal and industrial uses, agriculture, and the environment in the face of over-stretched surface water and groundwater resources and climate conditions different than those California experienced in the last century?

Assemblymember Chu supports conservation through recycling and wants to increase water storage capacity. He sees opportunity for conservation with fixing aging infrastructure where water is wasted because it never reaches its ultimate destination. He thinks California needs to build more treatment facilities, especially waste water treatment. Assemblymember Chu would like to be on Water Committee but probably will not be appointed to Committee. Water IMPORTANT! Supports conservation through recycling, wants to increase storage capacity Assemblymember has a bill to look at aging infrastructure. He indicated that much water delivery systems very old (much older than PGE delivery system). In Vallejo 20% of treated water leaks out before delivery = wasted! Need to build more treatment facilities + especially new technology to treat "waste" water. Question: water used in fracking (oil extraction) Assemblymember says Fracking in Calif different from other states. Other states ground water low so need to pump water in then extract it later.... Calif doesn't need to pump water in to extract oil. + therefore not a problem. It was mentioned old 30 gal toilets using too much water. ... Can't state require change to new low-flo toilets + especially in older dwellings? Assemblymember indicated that it would be difficult to "require" + not always as simple as new toilet + cost to replace etc. Santa Clara County has a free water audit available to households to check for wise water use. Difficult to mandate though. What about lifeline rates being allowed on water bills? .... Asseblymembers reply was that a big chunk of water cost is in infrastructure. That cost is included in the water bill. If you give a lifeline to some + others must pay more. The Assemblymembers priorities are: Conserve. Recycle, Build more storage. He wants a bill to address aging infrastructure. He will look into ACWD's and USD's plans to study an Indirect Potable Water plant to supply the Niles Cone Aquifer. He thinks CA has good fracking regulations.

Question #4: Local League Question: Affordable Housing

Assemblymember Chu thinks that agencies must work together better to achieve low cost housing to streamline permit processes. Assemblymember Chu states the problem: various agencies involved with low cost housing must work together. State now talking about requirement for redevelopment areas to have a 20% low-income requirement. State needs to streamline approval process for permits (including for "granny" units). Legislature passed a 4 mill $ bond issue bill but governor vetoed it. There was a new housing bond bill but building trades & labor unions didn't like it. Assemblymember Chu indicated that the legislature must remind governor that the governor proposes the budget, but the legislature approves it. Prop 1A's provisions are expediting AH.

Question #5: Assemblymember Chu Priorities for 2017

Assemblymember Chu said that there have been fewer bills submitted this year (about as many as usual). People holding on to new laws until they get a better idea of what is happening in the Fed. Govt. Expecting a fight over government regulations especially involving Covered Calif. program. Bracing for Fed moves.... LOCAL PRIORITY Housing and the Homeless Water Conservation, Transportation needs, Education is on everyone's mind, KC is on local education committee & Chair of Cultural Committee, Wants to bring in more tourist money to help,

Priorities: He supports the hiring of Eric Holder to help represent the state against the Federal Government. Covered CA will be important. Homelessness. Water conservation. Local transportation issues. Education. Tourism. Assemblymember Chu thinks that the state is holding its breath to see what will happen on the Federal level on funding for transportation and health care.