SACRAMENTO — Gov. George Deukmejian has signed a bill that benefits the cable television industry even though his office announced he vetoed the measure for being unfair to other taxpayers.
A spokeswoman for Deukmejian placed blame for the announcement on a clerical error made after the bill was signed late Friday, the governor's constitutional deadline for acting on 1988 legislation.
The matter was reported today by the Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Examiner.
As of Tuesday, however, the governor's press office had made no effort to correct the impression that the bill had been vetoed. Spokeswoman Lois Wallace said there were no plans to do so.
Saves Industry Millions
The bill, AB3234 by Assemblyman Frank Hill (R-Whittier) will change the way county assessors value cable business for property tax purposes, potentially saving the industry millions of dollars a year.
Hill hasn't spoken to reporters since his office was raided Aug. 24 in an FBI investigation into suspected Capitol corruption and wasn't available for comment.
An invalid veto message delivered by Deukmejian's office to Capitol news media Friday said the governor was returning the bill without his signature because it was premature and unfair.
"I am concerned that this bill would give preferential treatment to the cable television industry in the valuation of property interests by interfering with a county assessor's ability to determine fair market value," the governor's message said.
Message Prepared Earlier
Wallace said the veto message was prepared for Deukmejian's review but apparently was outweighed by arguments supporting the bill. The favorable arguments that Deukmejian considered won't be made public, she said.
Dennis Mangers, a cable industry lobbyist, said the bill will protect cable firms from being assessed for such things as subscriber lists and good reputation. Without the bill, he said, the resulting higher taxes would have raised subscriber fees as much as $2 to $3 a month.
The California Assessor's Assn. opposed the bill, saying it violates provisions of Proposition 13, the tax-slashing initiative passed in 1978, and will force assessors to ignore market values when cable franchises change hands.