- AB 35 (Chiu; D-San Francisco) expands the existing low-income housing tax credit program, making the state better able to leverage an estimated $200 million more in Federal Tax Credits.
- AB 54 (Olsen; R-Modesto) seeks to limit frivolous litigation regarding construction-related accessibility standards by incentivizing employers to obtain a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection by providing a tax credit for such inspections.
AB 35: Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
California is in the midst of a major housing affordability crisis and state policymakers need to make a commitment to increasing California’s housing stock.
California home prices are 150% higher than the national average, according to a report released March 17 by the Legislative Analyst, “California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences.” The report notes that the state needs to build 100,000 more units more per year to help control rising costs in home affordability.
AB 35 substantially bolsters the existing low-income housing tax credit program, making the state better able to leverage an estimated $200 million more in Federal Tax Credits.
AB 54: Tax Credit for Inspections
AB 54 provides a tax credit for business owners seeking to make their establishments compliant with construction-related accessibility standards through a CASp.
Due to California’s current statutory framework for construction-related accessibility claims, small businesses have, unfortunately, been targeted by a limited group of attorneys to leverage extortion-type settlements for technical construction-related standards, which do not actually impede physical access to the facility for disabled patrons.
For example, the California Commission on Disability Access has a Top 10 list of construction-related accessibility claims set forth in demand letters or complaints, which includes alleged violations for failure to have the appropriate signage or symbol.
Such violations do not necessarily impede physical access to the facility and could be resolved easily. However, businesses are pressured into paying settlements for these lawsuits instead of focusing financial resources on improving access at the business.
AB 54 would help address this problem by incentivizing businesses to obtain a CASp inspection. Obtaining a CASp inspection and implementing any proposed changes identified by the CASp inspector may assist the business in reducing the cost of litigation and potentially avoiding pressured settlements.