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ACA 4 Offers Flexibility for Local Financing of Infrastructure and Affordable Housing

Letters Encouraged as the Author Seeks to Build Support

June 23, 2017
Financing the repair and upgrade of infrastructure and addressing affordable housing needs is one of the greatest challenges facing cities and counties in the coming decades.
Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry is a former mayor and city council member from Winters who also served on the League board of directors. Given her background, she understands the difficulties cities and counties face when seeking to improve their infrastructure and address homelessness and affordable housing. As chair of the Assembly Local Government Committee, Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry also believes local governments need more flexibility to solve their own problems.    
The jumble of vote thresholds affecting infrastructure and affordable housing investments in California make little sense. When cities and counties ask their voters to make these needed investments they face a stringent two-thirds vote threshold. However, when the state seeks voter approval for the identical investments (such as pending housing or park bonds), the vote requirement is a simple majority. The vote threshold is just 55 percent for local school construction — such confusion. ACA 4 provides the voters an opportunity to treat investments in local infrastructure and affordable housing in a similar manner as schools. 
While prior lower vote threshold measures have bogged down in the Legislature, the potential exists — should sufficient support for the measure be secured — for the Legislature to place this measure on the 2018 ballot. Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry is currently seeking to build support, with the timing on moving the bill likely delayed until spring when deadlines occur to place measures on the ballot.
California voters have demonstrated — through their past approval of major state school, housing, and water bonds — that they understand the importance of investing in their future. When provided the opportunity, they also agreed to lower school bonds to a 55 percent vote. Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry's ACA 4 would provide voters with a similar opportunity to apply this standard to local investments on infrastructure and affordable housing — issues that are so critical to the state’s future, prosperity and quality of life.
The League supports this measure and urges cities to send in support letters as well. Copies of the League’s support letter and a sample letter can be found at www.cacities.org/billsearch by plugging ACA 4 into the search function.

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