"With more and more
measures surfacing that target businesses that ship goods through the Ports of
Long Beach and Los Angeles, I'm led to wonder how much longer we'll get to
benefit from the goods and jobs they contribute to the economy of
California. There are valuable ports in Oregon and Washington - not to
mention the new, deep water port opening soon in Mexico.
fees, like the one the commission will vote on on Monday, have major
implications for the economic vitality of this state. If voted on and
approved, they are a request to leave Southern California. With a
$10 to $15 billion deficit looming for the coming year, can we really afford
Mike Duvall, Assembly Transportation Committee
Senate Bill 974 has virtually
everyone weighing in. Information on it in the next post.
THERE'S A FEE-ING FRENZY AT THE PORTS OF LONG BEACH/LOS
By Assembly Transportation Committee
Vice-Chairman Mike Duvall (R-72)
December 16, 2007
Note: As part of an ongoing effort to bring original, thoughtful
commentary to you here at the FlashReport, I am pleased to present this column
from Assemblyman Mike Duvall - Flash]
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On Monday, December 17th, the Long Beach Board of Harbor
Commissioners will be meeting to vote on the approval of a $35 dollar container
fee for all loaded cargo containers entering or leaving the port by short-haul
Now, perhaps this fee sounds familiar. Thats
because it mirrors a legislative proposal here in Sacramento that would impose a
major burden on companies that do business with the Ports of Long Beach/Los
AngelesSB 974 by Senator Alan Lowenthalwhich is currently parked on the
Assembly Floor. SB 974 has been consistently defeated by the Legislature
because of its questionable legality and overreaching. It attempts to
broker a solution to transportation and air quality problems solely on the back
of business owners.
The vote Monday is to approve a fee structure to
finance a hyper-aggressive program that was approved by the Harbor Commission in
November. That program will first ban all trucks made before 1989.
Then, by 2012, it will require all trucks operating in the port to have been
manufactured in 2007 or later.
By charging $35 per loaded container
moved within the port facility, the Harbor Commission claims it will be able to
finance retrofits and the purchase of new trucks to be used in the future.
What they do not say is how these new trucks will be awarded and what
stipulations will be placed on the allocation of such gifts. The
Commission says it will meet in January to discuss how the money is to be
after the fee has already been approved!
privately-owned trucks, charging an enormous fee, and not having a spending plan
in place for $2.2 billion in new revenue, should make Monday's vote
unconscionable for commissioners.
Depending on how the funds are
allocated, the port could be actively putting independent business owners and
truckers out of business. Many truck drivers actually own their own
trucks. One option could be to give the new revenueor the new trucksto
the drivers directly, but this would hoist an untenable tax burden on most
drivers. Alternative approaches, such as having the port purchase the
trucks and lease them out for companies' use, are riddled with complications and
When you go to the bank and ask for a
loan, the first question you will be asked by the loan officer is what you
intend to use the money for. If this standard applies to the average
American, why should it not also apply to one of this countrys largest
ports? To charge a fee without first determining what money is needed and
how it will be used is preposterous!
As previously mentioned, this
proposal does have certain similarities to SB 974, but when you look closer you
can see that this measure bares several key distinctions. Most notably,
the Harbor Commission has set rates that are higher than what the Democrats in
Sacramento thought appropriate for a measure that would improve both air quality
and infrastructure. The Harbor Commissions plan doesnt even address
infrastructure concerns. In fact, the Commission plans to revisit the
container fee idea in January and possibly assess another fee on top of the one
to be voted on on Monday to address infrastructure. In short order, doing
business at the Port of Long Beach could be prohibitively expensive.
With more and more measures surfacing that target businesses that ship
goods through the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, I'm led to wonder how
much longer we'll get to benefit from the goods and jobs they contribute to the
economy of California. There are valuable ports in Oregon and Washington -
not to mention the new, deep water port opening soon in Mexico.
Container fees, like the one the commission will vote on on Monday, have
major implications for the economic vitality of this state. If voted on
and approved, they are a request to leave Southern California. With
a $10 to $15 billion deficit looming for the coming year, can we really afford
Assemblyman Mike Duvall was
elected to the Seventy-Second Assembly District of the California Legislature on
November 7, 2006 and currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Assembly
Transportation Committee. Duvall is the former Mayor of the City of Yorba
Linda and a small business owner. He represents the cities of Fullerton,
Anaheim, Placentia, Orange, Brea, Yorba Linda, and La Habra. He is a
You can write
to the Assemblyman, via the FR, here.
member of the Assemblyman's staff is married to the Publisher of this