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2015 League Strategic Direction Set

November 19, 2014
Meeting Nov. 13-14, 2014 in Sacramento, approximately 100 leaders of the League’s divisions, departments, policy committees, diversity groups and board of directors participated in an interactive workshop to develop and set the League’s 2015 strategic goals.
The workshop involved city officials from throughout California and built on the success of prior years and charted some new courses for 2015 as well.

The adopted goals are as follows:
  1. Expand Economic Development Tools and Reduce Regulation. Advocate for new tax increment financing and other economic development tools, and support reductions in burdensome and overlapping state regulations, to support job creation and a stronger economy.
    • There was strong support for maintaining our efforts to revive tax increment financing and other economic development tools with equal focus on reducing burdensome and often overlapping regulations that frustrate both local governments and the private sector. 
  2. Implement Additional Pension, Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) and Related Reforms to Help Reduce Unfunded Liabilities and Insolvency Risks. Support responsible implementation of recent pension reforms by CalPERS, and urge the adoption of additional pension, OPEB and related reforms by the legislature and cities to better manage the long-term growth of unfunded pension and OPEB liabilities and reduce the risk of fiscal and service level insolvency by cities.
    • There was widespread support for keeping focused on ways in which both CalPERS and cities can work together to better manage pension costs as well as the related rate increases that create local fiscal stress and cuts in local services. This could include continued focus on the importance of multi-year financial planning for cities, publication of the soon-to-be released study of OPEB obligations of cities, and education about the opportunities to make contributions to reduce the unfunded pension and OPEB liabilities of cities. 
  3. Modernize the Financing of Critical Infrastructure Maintenance and Construction Programs. Provide state and local governments with new and innovative revenue options and resources to finance critical infrastructure maintenance and construction needs for our transportation (streets, roads, rail & transit), water supply, wastewater, stormwater, and other critical infrastructure systems.
    • The expected rapid growth over the next few years in both electric vehicles and vehicle fuel economy will require a new way to finance transportation infrastructure in California and around the nation. Moreover, the growing federal and state regulatory requirements for treating drinking water, stormwater and wastewater demand more sensible approaches to funding compliance. 
  4. Update the Local Government Tax Structure to Respond to the “New Economy.”* Consistent with the constitutional protections for property, sales and local taxes contained in Propositions 1A and 22, develop policy options, where feasible, for responding to the erosion of the major local government revenue sources from the expansion of e-commerce, increased consumption of retail services rather than goods, changing patterns of commerce, and innovations in technology.
    • The underlying changes in the economy that have led to increased sales of untaxed goods (e.g., digital books) and services, suggest some fundamental changes in the state laws governing local revenue sources are necessary. This goal signals that these undeniable trends will be the focus of League research and policy development over the next year in partnership with our members who rely on these revenues to fund critical local services. 
* The new economy is the result of the transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy. Examples include online retailers, mass customization manufacturers (e.g., 3D printing), social media, sharing economy companies like Lyft, Airbnb, etc., online media companies, etc. For more information on how the new economy has affected sales tax receipts, for example, see ”The Fiscal Challenges Ahead for Cities,” Western City, November 2014.
Previous years’ goals are available on the League website.

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