The Building Industry Association – Riverside County (BIA-RC) Chapter held their Annual Legislative Luncheon on June 14, 2019 with guest speaker, Congressmen Ken Calvert who represents California’s 42nd Congressional District. The luncheon was generously co-sponsored by Eastern Municipal Water District and Western Municipal Water District at the Riverside Convention Center. Congressman Calvert addressed key issues ranging from the federal budget to local regulations. Approximately 100 people attended the gathering, with a great showing of elected officials and BIA-RC board members.
Congressman Calvert opened the discussion by articulating his goals and responsibilities as a member of the House Committee on Appropriations. Calvert stated that it is critical for the U.S. to get more funds in place in order to update our military. He argued that the United States Military is in the worst state it has been in since the end of World War II; with only one third of naval ships and half of the U.S. Air Force’s planes available for use because of a lack of parts and needed repairs. This is a situation Calvert argues must be changed and changed quickly. According to Calvert, things are beginning to turn around due to the efforts of former United States Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis who had been an incredible asset to our military and that things are looking up because of him.
Calvert went on to discuss some of the issues facing our state. Pointing to the fact that one third of the nation’s homeless live in California and that the state is facing a severe housing crisis, Calvert suggested that a huge contributing factor to these crises is over-regulation. The excessive regulations produce processes that take time, which increases costs. These increased costs are then passed along to the consumer. Calvert acknowledged that California does have high land costs, but that these costs are only a fraction, particularly when compared to the costs incurred by regulatory fees, that lead to California’s housing affordability crisis. Calvert attributed the high cost of housing as a catalyst for people choosing to move out of the state.
Calvert believes that we are on track to realize a new trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico. He also hopes for a Chinese trade agreement in the near term. Calvert is optimistic that China will agree to a deal over the next few weeks. The main concern for Calvert surrounding such an agreement with China, is that the new deal must protect the intellectual property rights of US businesses.
The Congressman also spoke on the subject of taxes. He mentioned how Proposition 6 or the “Gas Tax” recently passed in California. Calvert pointed out that just five percent of that tax is going to surface transportation, the rest is going to bike paths and the bullet train. Calvert argued, Californians can only take so much before they say no to taxes; Measure EE, a parcel tax for Los Angles schools, recently failed, a clear message that Californians are tired of being taxed.
Taking questions from the audience, Calvert fielded questions concerning the Californian Republican Party and our local military bases. Calvert noted that the Republican Party in California has lost a great deal of seats in the State Legislature, having now become a super minority in both the Senate and Assembly. However, he went on to say that politics is much like a pendulum, swinging from one side to the other, suggesting that eventually there will be more Republican representation in the State Legislature. Calvert answered questions regarding Norco Weapons Facility and March Air Force Base by stating that both bases bring well-paying jobs to the area and are great for our local economy. Calvert concluded by stating that he plans on both bases being around for a very long time.