Proposed Tax Break For Government Snow Removal Equipment In CA

California Senate Bill 546 proposes an exemption from the state sales and use tax for public entities purchasing snow removal vehicles.


Snow Removal Equipment

Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil’s (D – Jackson) Senate Bill 546, which proposes an exemption from the state sales and use tax for public entities purchasing dedicated snow removal vehicles, advanced through the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on January 10. With a 5-2 majority, SB 546 is set to move forward to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Aimed at supporting communities grappling with severe winters, SB 546 helps to ensure safety for residents without impacting local tax revenues. The urgency of the bill stems from devastating storms that battered Senator Alvarado-Gil’s district and other parts of California in 2023. The storms led to a State of Emergency declaration by Governor Gavin Newsom. Thirteen counties, including several in the Senator’s district, were severely affected, demanding aid for local businesses, schools, and community centers. The UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab reported record snowfall in 2023, close to 42′ of snow between March and October.

Although Caltrans is the designated agency for snow removal on state highways, crews had to adhere to California Highway Patrol’s “hard closures” in 2023. This was due to avalanches and freezing conditions during storms. Law enforcement additionally prevented local snow removal efforts due to significant safety concerns, leaving residents in vulnerable conditions.

Kyra Ross added that the Town of Truckee has spent approximately $80,000 over the last four years for snow removal. Truckee averages 17′ of snow annually.

SB 546 is backed by organizations such as the California Ski Industry Association, California State Association of Counties, California League of Cities, Sierra Business Council, and the City of South Lake Tahoe.

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