Daily Business Report-July 1, 2015
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the paid sick leave bill last September in Los Angeles. To his left is Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, the author of the law. (Photo: Elizabeth Aguilera/KPCC)
Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect Today
6 million-plus workers affected
More than 6 million workers are expected to benefit from a new law taking effect todlay that requires California employers to provide them at least three paid sick days a year.
The measure applies to most employees who work at least 30 days a year. The workers will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. It’s among several new laws that take effect at the start of the state’s new fiscal year.
California will continue to phase in a ban on lead ammunition by barring its use for hunting in certain areas. In addition, smartphones manufactured and sold starting in July must have a remote kill switch to make the devices less attractive to thieves.
But it’s the sick leave bill that will have the most impact on the day-to-day lives of many employees and their families, including those who work temporary and part-time jobs.
“This will be the first state where every single private-sector worker will be guaranteed this right,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who carried AB1522. She said 6.5 million Californians have never had the opportunity to take paid sick time and never been assured that their job will still be there if they take sick time.
Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon have enacted similar laws that include exemptions for small businesses and allow workers five paid or unpaid sick days annually. The Connecticut law took effect in 2012. Massachusetts’ law also takes effect today, while Oregon’s begins Jan. 1.
San Diego Home Values Edge Up Nearly 1 Percent
Home prices in San Diego County edged up 0.6 percent in April, part of a broader increase in housing costs around the country, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Schiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday.
The indices were created by taking the price of housing in 20 large markets across the U.S. in January 2000, assigning them a value of 100, and tracking their subsequent rise and fall.
San Diego’s index stood at 209.88 in April, representing more than a doubling in value over 16 years. The increase is the third-fastest in the country, behind Los Angeles and San Francisco, and barely edging out the 209.82 mark in Washington, D.C.
The national 20-city index rose 1.1 percent in April to 177.01. For the year, the increase was 4.9 percent.
San Diego area home prices are up 4.5 percent since April 2014.
“Home prices continue to rise across the country, but the pace is not accelerating,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
“Moreover, consumer expectations are consistent with the current pace of price increases,” Blitzer said. “A recent national survey published by the New York Fed showed the average expected price increase among both owners and renters is 4.1 percent.”
He said recent reports indicate that sales of new and existing homes are increasing, and construction starts were higher in May.
— City News Service
San Diego State Research: Working
Moms Acceptance at All-Time High
Research conducted at San Diego State University shows that societal acceptance of working mothers is at an all-time high.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 600,000 respondents from two nationally representative surveys — one of U.S. 12th graders and the other of adults — taken between 1976 and 2013. The goal was to understand how attitudes towards women’s work and family roles have changed in the United States since the 1970s.
They found that millennials are significantly more accepting of working mothers than previous generations were at the same age. Only 22 percent of 12th graders in the 2010s believed that a preschool-aged child would suffer if their mother worked, down from 34 percent in the 1990s and 59 percent in the 1970s.
“This goes against the popular belief that millennials want to ‘turn back the clock,’ or that they are less supportive of working moms because their own mothers worked. Instead they are more supportive,” said Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at SDSU and a lead author of the study. Twenge’s book, “Generation Me,” describes a generational shift toward individualism and narcissism.
It’s not just young people who are more accepting of mothers returning to work. A similar trend appeared among adults. In 1977, 68 percent of U.S. adults surveyed believed “a preschool child is likely to suffer if his or her mother works,” compared to 42 percent in 1998 and 35 percent in 2012.
“In recent years, Americans have become much more supportive of men and women holding the same roles and responsibilities in the workplace as well as in child-rearing,” said lead researcher Kristin Donnelly, who was a graduate student at SDSU when the research was conducted and is now pursuing her Ph.D at the UC San Diego.
“These results suggest a convergence to a common gender role for both genders as equal parts provider and caretaker, flexibly switching between the two without regard for traditionally gendered conceptions of duty,” Donnelly said.
Navy Names Its First Director
Of Unmanned Weapons Systems
The Navy has named its first director of unmanned weapon systems to guide the development of the Navy’s future unmanned efforts in the air and on and under the sea, the Pentagon announced.
Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier — currently the deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and career surface warfare officer — will oversee the newly created N99 office announced earlier this year by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
The new N99 position will exist alongside the service’s existing directorates of surface, air and undersea warfare as part of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff.
Along with the new N99 directorate, Mabus said he would also install a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (DASN) for Unmanned Systems, “who will help bring together all the many stakeholders and operators who are currently working on this technology in order to streamline their efforts.”
The Navy’s unmanned DASN has yet to be announced.
The N99 and new DASN positions come as the Navy is poised to start work on its Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet replacement — F/A-XX — that will likely have at least some unmanned characteristics.
Outside of UAVs, the Navy is also looking at large diameter unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) to operate from its nuclear submarine fleet.
State Excise Tax on Gasoline
Drops by 6 Cents Today
State Board of Equalization Member Diane L. Harkey announced that the state excise tax on gasoline will drop by six cents per gallon, from 36 cents to 30 cents starting today.
“The six cent gas tax decrease is positive news for families planning to travel for the 4th of July weekend,” said Harkey. “This tax cut means more Californians will be free to travel at a lower cost while achieving some independence from higher transportation costs.”
The board approved the six-cent tax rate reduction at its February meeting. The 30-cent-per gallon rate will remain in effect until June 30, 2016.
The tax adjustment is a result of the passage of 2010 laws known as the “fuel tax swap.” The new laws were designed to lower the statewide sales tax rate on gasoline to 2.25 percent and raise the excise tax rate so that the total amount of tax revenue generated is equal to what would have been generated had the sales and use tax and excise rates remained unchanged. The six-cent adjustment is due in part to the uncharacteristically low gas prices seen in the fall of 2014.
San Diego’s Turf Replacement
Rebate Program Resumes Today
The city of San Diego’s turf replacement rebate program resumes today with the beginning of the new fiscal year, with $1.2 million available for residents who remove their lawn and install native or drought-tolerant landscaping.
“The best way to conserve is to reduce watering outdoors or take advantage of rebates to replace your lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “We’re all in this together. It’s time to change the way we think about water. Let’s conserve today for a better tomorrow.”
The city of San Diego is operating under a state mandate to reduce water consumption by 16 percent over 2013 levels because of the ongoing drought. On Monday, the City Council tightened water use regulations by cutting the number of days of outdoor irrigation from three per week to two per week, at five minutes per station. The new rules also prohibit watering within 48 hours of measurable rain.
The new restrictions brought San Diego’s regulations in line with state and San Diego County Water Authority rules.
According to the city, outdoor irrigation accounts for half of residential water use.
Information about the rebate program is available at wastenowater.org.
— City News Service
Independence Day Holiday Weekend
By The Numbers
As we approach the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the National University System Institute for Policy Research collected industry data and made baseline estimates on some of the unique consumer expenditures and visitor trends occurring within the region.
• More than 950,000 visitors are expected to visit San Diego City beaches. This estimate is similar to 2014 (953,600) and 2013, when more than a million visitors flocked to city beaches over the holiday weekend. Countywide, San Diego has 70 miles of coastline.
• An estimated 1.1 million pounds of beef will be sold in San Diego County this week. Based on 2014 sales, the top three beef cuts that will be purchased this week are 1) ground beef, 2) boneless ribeye steak, and 3) bone in ribeye steak. (FreshLook Marketing, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association)
• Countywide, approximately 1.5 million hot dogs will be consumed over the holiday weekend. (North American Meat Institute)
• National consumer surveys identify Fourth of July as the most popular grilling holiday (53%), followed by Memorial Day (14%) and Labor Day (6%). (Praxi Group, Consumer Grilling Survey, 2012)
• Whole watermelon sales are projected to exceed more than 229,000 melons this week in San Diego County. (FreshLook Marketing, National Watermelon Promotion Board)
• The San Diego Bay fireworks display has measureable economic benefits. A 2012 analysis found that the “Big Bay Boom” fireworks show generated $10.6 million in total economic benefits for the region, including $6 million in additional revenue from lodging, retail purchases, restaurants, and tourist attractions.