An Assembly bill channeling extra money to Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office to work down a backlog of business filings will be heard this morning by a key Senate committee that will likely pass the measure, but with less money.
The Senate Budget and Finance Committee analysis of Assembly Bill 113 notes the measure has been amended to reduce the appropriation from the $2 million approved by the Assembly to $1.6 million.
In a spending plan sent to the Senate, Bowen said she really needs only $1.6 million in the short term to begin working down the backlog, which averages about six weeks.
The secretary and the Legislature have agreed on a goal of reducing processing times to no more than 10 days by the end of November, and then to maintain that standard until the state automates the current paper-based system in 2016. Lawmakers have said that they will earmark money over the next few years for the extra employees and infrastructure.
The funding for AB 113 will come from fees collected by the secretary of state. Processing the back-up documents will more than offset that cost.
Roughly 123,000 business filings that have stacked up at Bowen's Sacramento headquarters, most of them with attached checks waiting for deposit. Processing delays in many instances have set back business start-ups, related job creation and related fee and tax revenues.
Other states, including Texas and New York, process similar documents within a week or less of receiving them.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, chairs the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee 2013 file