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Advocate for City Priorities in the State Budget

April 27, 2018
With state revenues expected to come in $4.2 billion over previous estimates, the question of how to spend, or whether to spend, those additional revenues will likely dominate much of the budget negotiations that occur between Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Budget Revise and the June 15 constitutional deadline for the Legislature to send the Governor its proposed FY 2018–19 budget. 
 
The League is advocating for funding in the budget for cities to address homelessness, disaster preparedness activities, waste diversion and the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) grant program.
 
In January, the Governor proposed a state budget with $131.7 billion in General Fund spending and a total budget of $190.3 billion when including special fund and bond proceed allocations. He proposed to put most of the projected $6.1 billion of surplus funding to the state’s reserves, which would bring the Rainy Day Fund to its full constitutional target of 10 percent of the General Fund.
 
The Governor's January proposal includes $4.5 billion of new funding for state and local transportation projects through SB 1. Of the $2.7 billion cities and counties would receive in FY 2018–19, $1.2 billion would be generated by SB 1.
 
The League’s analysis of what the Governor proposed in January is available on the League’s website.
 
Budget Requests in Four Core Areas
 
The League is advocating for additional funding in the state budget in four priority areas.
 
Homelessness
 
Addressing the homelessness crisis is one of the League’s top strategic goals. The Governor, however, in his January budget did not include any additional funding for homelessness programs or services. The League has joined the efforts of the state’s big-city mayors in advocating for additional one-time funding to address homeless issues in the FY 2018–19 budget. The need for additional funding was also made clear to the Governor by League board members when he visited with the League board on April 19. 

Two legislative measures have been introduced that reflect these requests. AB 3171 (Ting) is seeking $1.5 billion and SB 912 (Beall) is seeking $2 billion for this purpose.
 
The Joint Homelessness Task Force, convened by the League and the California State Association of Counties, released its report in March detailing the crisis and examples of how cities and counties can work collectively to help those living on the streets or vulnerable to homelessness.
 
Disaster Preparedness: $100 million
 
The League is part of the Disaster Readiness for Safer Communities (DiSC) coalition that has requested $100 million in additional funding for fire prevention and mutual aid support. This is an increase of $75 million over the Governor’s January budget proposal of $25 million for local fire response from Cap-and-Trade revenues. Last year’s devastating fires make it clear that California needs to be better prepared for future natural disasters. Firefighters and equipment must be pre-positioned to respond to extreme fire conditions.
 
Waste Diversion: $100 million
 
Legislation enacted in 2016 set ambitious new organic waste diversion goals to reduce methane emissions: divert 50 percent of organic waste from landfills (below 2014 levels) by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025. Meeting these goals will require approximately $3 billion in infrastructure. The Governor has proposed using $20 million for waste diversion from Cap-and-Trade revenues. The League, local government partners and the solid waste community requested a $100 million investment.
 
Transformative Climate Communities
 
Combatting climate change is a priority for California, with much of the work happening at the local level. Local agencies are willing to do their part in combating climate change, but resources are needed. The Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program is designed to make significant change in California’s most disadvantaged communities by empowering communities that receive the grants to create projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution. The Governor has proposed $25 million from Cap-and-Trade for TCC. Local governments are requesting $100 million in funding plus expanded eligibility to reach beyond just the top 5 percent of disadvantaged communities.
 
Next Steps
 
The Governor is expected to release his May Budget Revise during the second week in May. Once it is released, the League will review the proposal for city impacts and distribute an analysis to cities. 
 
Budget hearings will begin in earnest in May and go through mid-June. The Legislature must send the Governor a budget by June 15. The Governor then can sign it as proposed, but may also “blue pencil” individual line items that he does not want the state to fund. The new fiscal year begins July 1 and will run through June 30, 2019.
 
Cities are encouraged to support the League’s budget funding requests.
 
Sample letters have been prepared that cities can use to support additional funding for homelessness, disaster preparedness, waste diversion and the TCC program.
 
 


 
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