Tax break could help quake-proof buildings

northridge earthquake 1Governments use tax breaks to encourage activity. In California, that includes driving electric vehicles and making movies.

Now a 30 percent tax break might be given to those retrofitting older buildings to make them quake-proof. Assembly Bill 428 is by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks, and would grant the tax credit “for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, and before January 1, 2021.”

The bill is being supported by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Los Angeles Times quoted him:

“We as a city cannot do this alone,” Garcetti told reporters at a news conference Wednesday on the steps of Van Nuys City Hall. “This is a common-sense bill that will set forward a pathway to help building owners, to help landlords and tenants alike, to create a safer and a greater Golden State”….

The dangers of concrete buildings have been known since the 1971 Sylmar earthquake, when hospital buildings were destroyed. As many as 50 of the more than 1,000 concrete buildings across the city would collapse in a big earthquake, The Times reported in 2013. …

The retrofits could cost as much as $130,000 for wooden apartments and millions for taller concrete buildings.

The bill also is supported by the Apartment Association. of Greater Los Angeles.

The problem with such tax rebates, though, is that they come at the expense of the rest of the state budget. Unless the Legislature cuts spending in other areas, taxes must be raised in other areas to make up the deficit.

Politics is the art of trade-offs. Even something as important as preventing earthquakes is but a part of the equation.

John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles,, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

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