E-Newsletter

 
WELCOME

Dear Friend,

The 2020 legislative session is underway, and I have officially introduced our legislative package for the year. The bills that I am carrying focus on veterans’ affairs, consumer protections, environmental justice, and increasing economic opportunities for historically underserved communities.

In February, we celebrate Black History Month, which commemorates the history and endless contributions of African Americans to our country. This year’s theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” honors the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment giving black men the right to vote, as well as the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women’s suffrage.

I look forward to continuing to represent you in the State Capitol. As always, if you have any questions about anything in this newsletter or need help with a state agency, please do not hesitate to contact our offices. My staff and I are always ready and willing to help in any way we can.

Sincerely,

Ben Hueso
State Senator
40th District

WELCOME
Events Calendar
02/14: Valentine’s Day
02/17: President’s Day
02/20: World Day of Social Justice
02/21: Last day for bills to be introduced
02/25: Mardi Gras
02/26: Ash Wednesday
For the complete legislative calendar, please visit: Legislative Calendar

 

IN THE KNOW ...

Senate Bill 1007 to Provide State Tax Exemptions for Military Retirement Pay

Earlier this month, I joined representatives from the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), American Legion Post 310, and active duty and military veterans, to announce the introduction of a new bill, SB 1007, in the State Senate that would provide a tax exemption for military retirement pay for military retirees within the State of California.

The State of California is one of only nine states that does not offer a partial or complete exemption of taxes from military retirement pay. What kind of message does this send to our military retirees, who have put their lives on the line to keep us safe? Evidently not a welcoming one, as we are losing military veterans to other states at an alarming rate. Between 2000 and 2016, about 800,000 California military veterans left the state. Many veterans and discharging service members choose to move to other states based on concerns about our state's cost of living or because they are attracted to incentives provided by other states for veterans.

This bill would provide California military retirees with a well-deserved and sizeable tax exemption to help them readjust to civilian life, while also benefiting California by providing an environment in which our service members are allowed to retire comfortably and remain in the state.

Economic Roundtable on San Diego’s Promise Zones and Opportunity Zones

This month, I joined community and economic development leaders, and regional organizations for a roundtable event aimed at advancing the economic development of disadvantaged communities in our state, including areas of San Diego. The event centered on the Promise Zones and Opportunity Zones programs and offered participants the opportunity to engage in valuable conversations regarding the best possible practices to attract place-based investments to our region. The goal of the event was to outline some of the various resources available for local jurisdictions to maximize the use of place-based incentives in the area, as well as improve the working relationship these agencies have with the localities they are trying to reach.

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, U.S. Department of Human and Urban Development, City of San Diego Economic Development Department and the California Strategic Growth Council helped lead this roundtable with presentations informing attendees on each agency’s work within Opportunity and Promise Zones and disadvantaged communities.

We have a lot of work to do, and I believe meetings like this can make a difference by bringing awareness and by helping build the working relationships local stakeholders need to improve the quality of life of our most economically disadvantaged residents in San Diego. Fully tapping into these designated zones will only be possible through the thoughtful coordination of all levels of government, community-based organizations, and private capital. We need to continue strengthening these relationships so that we can find solutions locally, in California, and throughout the country.

Census 2020 Update

REMINDER - the 2020 Census is quickly approaching! Just 2 weeks until March 12 when postcards drop in the mail and less than 5 weeks until Census day on April 1, 2020!

Every 10 years the federal government is required to count everyone living in the US. The information is completely confidential, and is used to make important funding decisions for roads, education, and public safety in our community. No matter your age or where you live, EVERYONE counts. Immigration status, age, or criminal history DO NOT matter. Every single person living in the United States on April 1, 2020 should be counted.

You can begin responding to the survey in late March 2020 either online or in paper form. If you do not respond by May 2020, Census Bureau employees will come to your home directly to follow-up. By law, information you give on the census form is confidential; the Census Bureau cannot share household or individual data with anyone, including law enforcement or other government agencies.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT ...

Nonprofit Organization of the Month: A Reason To Survive (ARTS)

This month, I would like to highlight the incredible work being done by A Reason to Survive (ARTS), a local nonprofit in National City dedicated to providing young people with positive creative outlets. Founded in 2001 as a juvenile outreach program, the center has since transformed into a sanctuary for the youth and young adults of National City.

ARTS’s trauma-informed approach to arts and design education builds a path for young people to transition into healthy well rounded adults. The organization offers free music, painting, furniture repurposing, and other after-school classes for children ages 8 to 15.  ARTS also partners with city leadership, school districts and local businesses and organizations to help transform white walls into amazing murals all over National City.

Thank you, ARTS, for your dedication to youth and empowering them to create a positive change in our South Bay community through creativity. I look forward to seeing the impact your graduates make on the greater San Diego area in the coming years!

Citizen of the Month: Rose L. San Pedro

This month’s citizen of the month is Rose L. San Pedro! Ms. San Pedro was a registered nurse who completed the additional education required to earn her bachelor’s degree in Nursing. She is now retired as a RN, B.S.N. from San Ysidro Health. Even though she is retired, she still volunteers as a nurse throughout the community.

She just returned from 40 days in the Philippines to a surprise when she learned her daughter had nominated her to be the Citizen of the Month! She and I had a chance to renew our acquaintance as we had met several years ago.  While in the Philippines, she had a chance to view the devastation from the eruption of Mt. Taal in January.

Rose has been a member of the San Diego Majestic Lions Club for twenty-five years and served as the President. She became blind from complications of Diabetes but overcame those many health obstacles and restored her sight. She is very altruistic and dedicated to serving her community and is recognized as one of the pillars on which our community rests.

Congratulations Rose L. San Pedro and thank you for all your contributions to the 40th Senate District!

WHAT'S NEW ...

California Earned Income Tax Credit

As we begin a new tax season, I want to remind everyone about the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). CalEITC is a cashback tax credit for qualified working families and individuals in California.

In 2019, several changes to eligibility helped more than 2 million people claim the credit; a 40% increase in household use from 2018. This year, more changes will go into effect that could greatly expand the use and financial impact of the tax credit. For more information regarding this tax credit and viewing eligibility requirements, please visit https://caleitc4me.org/

The April 15th tax filing deadline may seem far away, but it is never too soon to make sure you have all of the resources available to complete your filing as thoroughly as possible.

Salton Sea Community Meetings in February and March

The State’s Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) is developing a Dust Suppression Action Plan to reduce dust from exposed lakebeds around the Salton Sea. These meetings will consist of updates and community input on the draft Dust Suppression Action Plan. Come learn about efforts to save the Salton Sea, and provide your invaluable input. For more information, please visit the California Natural Resources Agency website.

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