Bill Text: CA SJR15 | 2011-2012 | Regular Session | Introduced

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Harbor Maintenance Tax: Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund

Status: (Passed) 2012-07-06 - Chaptered by Secretary of State. Res. Chapter 66, Statutes of 2012. [SJR15 Detail]

Download: California-2011-SJR15-Introduced.html
BILL NUMBER: SJR 15	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Senators DeSaulnier and Fuller

                        SEPTEMBER 7, 2011

   Relative to Harbor Maintenance Tax.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   SJR 15, as introduced, DeSaulnier. Harbor Maintenance Tax: Harbor
Maintenance Trust Fund surplus.
   This measure would urge the President and the Congress of the
United States to significantly increase federal funding from the
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund surplus for navigational improvements
and continued operational and maintenance dredging in those federal
channels that serve California's ports such that these expenditures
equal the amounts contributed by California to halt adding to the
surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and to recognize the
role of California's ports in contributing the greatest share of the
Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues. This measure would also memorialize
the Legislature's support of efforts by California's congressional
delegation to obtain an equitable share of all federal port and goods
movement infrastructure funding and would encourage those
representatives to support measures that will fund the security and
facilitation of commercial activity at California's ports.
   Fiscal committee: no.



   WHEREAS, The State of California is committed to protecting and
preserving its ports, and those employed in and around the ports; and

   WHEREAS, California supports the safe and reliable transportation
of goods into and through the state; and
   WHEREAS, California serves as an international commerce gateway
between the nation and most of its trade partners and, according to
the Kyser Center for Economic Research, over $500 billion in goods
annually are moved into or out of California via all transportation
modes; and
   WHEREAS, California is the single largest trading entity in the
United States, and three of the five largest volume container ports
in the United States are located in California; and
   WHEREAS, California's ports are responsible for $8 billion of the
$20 billion that the United States Customs and Border Protection
collects annually in fees and duties, and none of this revenue is
reinvested in the state's or country's system for moving goods
because customs fees are deposited in the United States General Fund;
and
   WHEREAS, California's three largest ports facilitate some 40
percent of the nation's maritime trade by value, totaling
approximately $375 billion annually; and
   WHEREAS, California's ports, harbors, and businesses that depend
on federal channels and breakwaters contribute an estimated $40
billion per year to national economic output, 1.6 million jobs, and
$21 billion in annual personal income to the United States economy;
and
   WHEREAS, California has invested billions of dollars raised by
private and public sectors, including hundreds of millions of dollars
in cost sharing with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to
deepen navigation channels, into the development of a world-class
public port infrastructure that is dependent on the proper
maintenance of federal navigational channels and breakwaters for
which the Congress of the United States created a special tax to fund
all of the maintenance; and
   WHEREAS, Prior to 1986, maintenance of federal channels was all
funded at federal expense; however, as a result of the 1986 Water
Resources Development Act, users of federal navigation channels now
pay an ad valorem tax, the Harbor Maintenance Tax, of 0.125 percent
on imports and domestic waterborne shipments between United States
ports, and this revenue is placed in the Harbor Maintenance Trust
Fund to provide a source of nonfederal revenue for funding all of the
operations and maintenance dredging necessary to keep navigational
channels at proper depths and dimensions; and
   WHEREAS, The federal government has not fully utilized the funds
available in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for needed maintenance
dredging, and, instead, it has allowed a large surplus to build up
in the trust fund in order to mask the federal deficit or fund other
programs unrelated to ports; and
   WHEREAS, The United States Army Corps of Engineers reports that at
the nation's 59 busiest ports the full channel dimensions are only
available 35 percent of the time and that, based on continued
less-than-optimal funding, critical navigation channels will only be
dredged to 20 percent of full channel dimensions; and
   WHEREAS, With annual revenue more than $1.4 billion and growing,
while the annual need for maintenance dredging is in the range of
$1.3 billion to $1.6 billion, the amount of need is comparable to the
funds collected and would not produce a sizeable surplus; however,
over the past five years, because annual expenditures for channel
maintenance have averaged less than $800 million, users have been
left with inadequately maintained channels, and a surplus of more
than $5.6 billion exists in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund; and
   WHEREAS, The net results of the surplus and inadequately
maintained channels are increased costs for waterborne transportation
users, increased greenhouse gas emissions, higher prices to
consumers, and reduced competitiveness of United States exports in
the global marketplace, ultimately costing those states that rely on
trade the most for economic development, precious jobs, and income;
and
   WHEREAS, The President of the United States, recognizing that 95
percent of the world's customers live outside the United States, has
created a National Export Initiative to double the country's total
exports in five years, leading to the creation of 2 million new jobs;
and
   WHEREAS, The National Export Initiative will lead to increased
sales of California agricultural and manufactured products if these
products can be shipped in a reliable, timely, and cost-effective
manner; and
   WHEREAS, The Congress of the United States must honor its pledge
to maintain the nation's ports and harbors with the revenue provided
by users, and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund should be fully
utilized for its intended purpose of maintaining federal navigation
channels and not for any additional uses; and
   WHEREAS, Developing and maintaining federal navigation channels is
the most historically federal mission of all the missions of the
United States Army Corps of Engineers, such that, today, maintaining
our federal channels to their authorized and required dimensions
remains a critical part of maximizing the contributions the United
States Army Corps of Engineers and seaports make to our national
economy, the nation's economic security, and competitiveness in world
trade; and
   WHEREAS, Although California's ports facilitate the cargo value
that generates over 30 percent of the Harbor Maintenance Tax
revenues, expenditures for California state projects made out of the
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund from federal fiscal year 2005 to fiscal
year 2008 averaged only 4 percent of the total revenue collected;
and
   WHEREAS, Even though only the nation's top two container seaports,
in Los Angeles and Long Beach, are presently dredged to their
authorized dimensions, Los Angeles and Long Beach are still likely to
receive less than a penny in benefits out of the Harbor Maintenance
Trust Fund per dollar contributed by them to the fund in Harbor
Maintenance Tax revenues; and
   WHEREAS, Despite the sizable contributions to the Harbor
Maintenance Trust Fund by port activities in the State of California
and the large surplus that remains in the fund, the need for
additional operations and maintenance dredging continues to persist
in harbors throughout California; and
   WHEREAS, The present Congress of the United States has introduced
House Resolution 104 and Senate Resolution 412, which have called for
a solution to the surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund by
ensuring that the annual revenue collected would be fully used for
maintaining the nation's ports and harbors navigational channels at
their authorized and required depths and widths and by protecting
harbor maintenance taxes already collected for their intended
purpose; now, therefore, be it
   Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of
California, jointly, That the Legislature respectfully urges the
President and the Congress of the United States to significantly
increase federal funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund
surplus for navigational improvements and continued operational and
maintenance dredging in those federal channels that serve California'
s ports such that these expenditures equal the amounts contributed;
and be it further
   Resolved, That the Legislature urges the President and the
Congress of the United States to enact House Resolution 104 or Senate
Resolution 412 to end further contribution to the surplus in the
Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and to recognize the unique role played
by California's ports in generating and contributing the greatest
share of the Harbor Maintenance Tax revenues; and be it further
   Resolved, That the Legislature supports the efforts by California'
s congressional delegation to obtain an equitable share of all
federal ports and goods movement infrastructure funding generally and
further encourages those representatives to support measures that
will guarantee that California has the funds necessary to secure and
facilitate commercial activity at its many ports; and be it further
   Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this
resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States,
to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority
Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative from
California in the Congress of the United States, to the Secretaries
of the United States Department of Defense and of the United States
Department of Transportation, and to the author for appropriate
distribution.                            
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