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Freeze relief bill passes Senate, moves to Assembly

 

Last updated 4/5/2007 at Noon



SACRAMENTO — The California Senate recently voted 36-0 in support of a freeze-relief bill, SB 148, introduced by Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta) in January shortly after the cold snap. The bill will now move to the Assembly for committee hearings.

SB 148, which was “fast-tracked” by the Legislature, will provide a property tax exemption for severely damaged fruit and nut trees. Upon passage of the measure, growers would be able to qualify for a property tax exemption for trees damaged by the cold for the succeeding four years.

The senator met with affected growers after the freeze and toured groves in Valley Center, Fallbrook and Temecula to survey the damage to the local crops.

“The growers in San Diego and Riverside counties that I represent, as well as farmers in more than 20 other counties around the state, have suffered tremendous damage from this freeze,” Hollingsworth said. “Their losses will be in the millions and could last for years.”

In addition to SB 148, Hollingsworth also introduced SB 149, which allows growers affected by the freeze to receive a tax credit for the amount spent on the state sales tax on natural gas, gasoline and other needed supplies used during the period of the freeze. Similar legislation has been supported by the state Legislature in past freezes.

“We’re talking about tax relief,” Hollingsworth said at a news conference in January. “I think it’s only fitting that the government tighten its belt to help the farmers.”

As a result of the freeze, about $1.3 billion in agricultural losses statewide have been reported to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

 

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