Capitol Alert

No tax breaks for building Trump's wall, lawmaker says

U.S.-Mexico border wall gets prototyped

Six contractors had until October 26 to complete eight models of President Trump's border wall at a site near the Otay Mesa border crossing with Mexico in San Diego.
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Six contractors had until October 26 to complete eight models of President Trump's border wall at a site near the Otay Mesa border crossing with Mexico in San Diego.

As President Donald Trump visits California today for the first time as commander-in-chief, a California lawmaker wants to end several state tax benefits for companies that help build Trump's proposed border wall.

Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, has introduced Assembly Bill 2355, which would prohibit companies that contract or subcontract with the federal government to help build a wall along the U.S. - Mexico border from receiving certain California tax breaks.

Ting said Californians reject a border wall, pointing to a Public Policy Institute of California poll in 2017 that found 73 percent of Californians oppose Trump's proposed wall.

"I believe it's a waste of California taxpayer dollars to help subsidize this wall," Ting said. "We want to send a message to all companies that are in California thinking about being a part of this (border wall) process to really stand with the state, stand with the residents and stand with American values which welcome people from all over the world."

The five tax credits that companies would not receive include manufacturing, research and alternative energy credits as well as the California Competes Tax Credit, which gives income tax breaks to businesses that expand or relocate in California.

More than 375 companies expressed interest in working on the border wall by responding to a federal request for proposals last year.

Trump will view border wall prototypes outside of San Diego as part of his visit today.

Trump has asked Congress for $18 billion over the next decade to build and extend the nearly 700-mile barrier. An internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security report found the wall project could cost up to $21.6 billion and take more than three years to complete.

Ting said those funds would be better spent on infrastructure.

"Our roads are clogged. Our trains are full," Ting said. "So we really want to see that money better invested in infrastructure rather than in a wall that's not going to work."

Besides sparring over immigration, California has already clashed with the Trump administration over its construction of a border wall. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit last September that aimed to stop construction of the wall project in San Diego and Calexico.

However, that lawsuit was struck down last month by a judge whom Trump taunted during his presidential campaign.

Ting also tried last year to force California's public employee and teacher retirement systems to divest from companies working on the wall.

Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning rundown on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up here.

NEW PARTNERSHIP: California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and neighborhood social network service Nextdoor are teaming up to provide election information to voters in neighborhoods throughout the five counties adopting the Voter's Choice Act in 2018. The new election model marks a shift towards all-mail elections by replacing polling places with vote centers and ballot drop-off boxes. Under the new partnership, Padilla's office will post voting information on the appropriate neighborhood pages on Nextdoor's website.

Steve Wymer, Nextdoor's vice president of policy, said Nextdoor allows Padilla's office to reach voters living in the five counties, rather than sharing information on other social media platforms used by voters across the state who are not yet impacted by the new voting system.

"We were looking for a way to really matter and get into politics in a way that is not partisan but helps everybody," Wymer said.

Padilla said the partnership will expand as all counties become eligible to adopt the Voter's Choice Act by 2020.

"To increase registration, turnout and civic engagement in general, you have got to go where the voters are, which is increasingly online and on social media," Padilla said.

Padilla, Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia and Silicon Valley Leadership Group president Carl Guardino will discuss the partnership at a press conference today in San Francisco. The discussion kicks off at 1:40 p.m. at Nextdoor's headquarters, 875 Stevenson Avenue.. A live stream will be available here.

WOMEN'S LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES: Several female legislators will hold a press conference, 11:30 a.m. in Room 112 of the Capitol, with the Stronger California Advocates Network, a group of organizations that advocate for women and families, to announce legislative priorities for 2018 that target sexual harassment and economic security for women. Speakers include acting California Legislative Women's Caucus chair and Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, and Noreen Farrell, chair of the Stronger California Advocates Network.

SHRIVER IN SACRAMENTO: Former First Lady of California and journalist Maria Shriver is in Sacramento today to speak as part of the She Shares program, which features trailblazing women leaders in California. Shriver has placed much of her focus today on fighting and finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Shriver will sit down with KCRA news anchor Edie Lambert at 6 p.m. at The Grand Plaza at the Golden 1 Center.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, who turns 40.

Billy Kobin: (916) 321-1860, @Billy_Kobin