2017 Convention Program is Online!
Our online 2017 Convention Program is now available! You should have received a postcard in the mail with details, a link and a QR code to access it. Or simply click here to view it now. Please let us know if we can lighten your travel load and save resources at the same time by not mailing it out to you this year. For those who want printed copies, they will be mailed at the end of October.
FWEDA Appoints Woelfel as New CEO
The Far West Equipment Dealers Association brings Joani Woelfel onboard as president and CEO to lead the organization deeply rooted in its commitment to support and advocate for equipment dealers across the western states.
Woelfel has worked in media and communications in Arizona, Colorado, California, Washington and Germany. She served in PR and communications roles in education and hospitality, and held positions in sales and marketing for the architectural,engineering and construction industry. Woelfel also led a nonprofit trade association in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has served on nonprofit boards including the Girl Scouts of Colorado and the Bay Area's Tyler's Grace Foundation. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in English from Arizona State University, and was recently accepted into a project management certification and organizational leadership program through the University of Arizona.
Woelfel replaces Steven Kost, who's retiring with two decades at the helm of FWEDA. Click here to read the full press release.
Lead-acid Battery Fees Registration
Back in December we sent members a notice regarding a new lead battery acid fee (see below). At the time we did not have much information on how the program would work but additional information has just became available.
The lead-acid battery fees registration is available starting March 20, 2017. In addition, a Tax and Fee Guide has been posted to the California Board of Equalization (BOE) website. Go to http://www.boe.ca.gov/industry/lead-acid_battery_fees.html to view this information and register with the BOE.
The BOE has also released a two page guidance on how this program will work. Please go to https://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/l489.pdf for additional information. Please note that this does NOT include new batteries that come in farm equipment, atv’s, autos, etc. from the factory but only REPLACEMENT batteries.
Minimum Wage Increases in Store for Many In 2017
While the federal minimum wage has remained steady at $7.25 for the past seven years, many state and local jurisdictions have set their own minimum rates higher than the federal level. And, of course, when a local jurisdiction mandates a rate higher than the federal rate, you must pay your employees the higher rate.
Here is a listing of all the planned increases in the states we serve currently on tap for 2017.
Click here to read full article.
Court Halts Overtime Rule
A federal judge in Texas entered a nationwide preliminary injunction on Tuesday prohibiting the Department of Labor from enforcing its new overtime rules. The new rules, released in May, were scheduled to take effect December 1. The new rule would have raised the minimum salary limit required to be considered an “exempt” employee from $23,660 to $47,476 per year.
Twenty-one states challenged the Department of Labor’s overtime expansion on the basis that Congress did not intend to set a minimum salary threshold for the exemption nor did it intend to allow the minimum salary threshold be raised every three years, which the rule stipulates.
Click here to read full article.
2017 Laws Affecting California Employers
California enacted new employment laws that may affect the day-to-day operations of your businesses in 2017 and beyond.
This year, many bills feature delayed or phased-in implementation.
Employers will need to be aware of significant changes in key areas, such as the state minimum wage. Other new laws make small changes to different parts of existing law or may relate only to specific industries. Unless specified, all new legislation goes into effect on January 1, 2017.
Click here to read full article.
Pot Is Legal, Keep Your Workplace Drug Free
On November 8, California joined several other states in legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years old and over, imposes a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana sales and establishes a regulatory framework for the sale of marijuana. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use is a significant change to current law. However, despite the passage of Proposition 64, several things will not change.
Tractor Incentive Program Offers Money
California growers looking to replace tractors might be eligible for incentive money under a program by the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD).
The Agricultural Tractor Replacement Program provides incentive funds for the replacement of in-use, off-road mobile equipment used in agricultural operations as defined by the California Air Resources Board.
Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applicants must obtain approval and have a signed, executed contract from the SJVAPCD prior to purchasing the new equipment. As this is not a rebate program, growers who have already purchased new equipment are not eligible for the program.
Information about the program is available online at the SJVAPCD website.
2016 Partial Tax Exemption: Special Notice
The partial sales tax exemption for farm machinery has changed effective 1-1-16. Even though the BOE’s website still says the exempt amount is the same as last year, this Special Notice will explain the change and why. In short, the exempt portion of sales tax will go from 5.50% to 5.25%. The 7.50 percent sales and use tax base rate in California, which consists of state, local, and county taxes, remains at 7.50 percent, excluding any district taxes that may apply to certain areas. As of January 1, 2016, the state tax portion will decrease by 0.25 percent and the local tax portion will increase by 0.25 percent. Since the partial exemption only applies to the state tax, the amount of the partial exemption will decrease by 0.25 percent.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Far West Office if you have questions, concerns or need further information.
FWEDA Matching Fund Scholarship Program
FWEDA is pleased to announce the availability of a limited number of matching fund scholarships to assist in the training of employees or potential employees of Far West’s farm equipment dealers.
This is a “dealer-driven” scholarship process. The dealer must approve the applicant as a potential future employee, approve the applicant’s course of study as being relevant to dealership operations, and agree to match the $500 scholarship awarded by FWEDA. Applicants must be accepted and enrolled as a full-time student into a dealer-approved higher education curriculum. Click here to read full article.