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Legislators Urged to Appropriate Funding for Key Local Priorities

May 17, 2018
The League continues to work with various stakeholders to urge the Legislature to appropriate resources for four local priorities. 
These include: prepositioning of fire services; affordable housing and homelessness programs; infrastructure for waste diversion; and the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program.

Fire Prepositioning: $100 Million
As the costly and destructive wildfires in October and December 2017 illustrate, extreme fire conditions have become a year-round concern. Fire agencies must now be ready at all times to respond to large scale fire storms locally and throughout the state. California’s Mutual Aid System, managed by the Office of Emergency Services (OES), enables agencies send first responders to major disasters when the threat is too large for local resources to handle on their own. The Mutual Aid System is a critical tool that is held up as a national model; however, it must be modernized to address the reality of extreme weather and expanded fire risk.
Request: Along with fire chiefs, firefighters and others, the League requests $100 million to reimburse local governments for the cost of pre-positioning firefighters and equipment in advance of risks identified through the Mutual Aid System, as well as upgrade emergency notification and dispatch systems.
Affordable Housing and Homelessness Programs
Homelessness has been a major topic this year in the Legislature with several proposals pending that would allocate between $1.5 billion and $5 billion for various homelessness and affordable housing programs. The conversation began in February, when the mayors of the 11 largest cities in California submitted a letter to former Senate pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) asking for immediate focus and significant assistance from the state to address the homelessness problem facing nearly every city in California. 
Sen Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) unveiled a Senate proposal on May 16 that would allocate $5 billion over four years to the following programs:

Request: The League strongly supports the Legislature’s and the Governor’s desire to dramatically increase funding to support affordable housing programs and provide additional resources to local governments to address homelessness at the local level. While the League is not in full agreement regarding the amount and allocation process for the direct distribution of homelessness funds to cities (for emergency activities that include rapid re-housing; shelter diversion, navigation centers, emergency shelters and bridge housing), cities look forward to working with the Legislature and the Governor on budget trailer language.
Waste Diversion: $100 Million
In 2016, the state enacted SB 1383 (Lara, 2016) that established set new and ambitious organic waste diversion goals as part of the strategy to reduce methane emissions. By 2020, the goal is to divert from landfills 50 percent of organic waste below 2014 levels and 75 percent by 2025. An estimated 350 new anaerobic digesters and/or composting facilities will be needed within the next five to seven years to meet these goals at an estimated cost of $3 billion.
Request: Together with local government partners and the solid waste community, the League requests $100 million recycling and organic waste infrastructure necessary to achieve the state’s goals. This is a small step toward the estimated $3 billion need.
Transformative Climate Communities Program: $100 Million
The Transformative Climate Communities program, administered by the Strategic Growth Council, is designed to make transformative change in the most disadvantaged communities by empowering grantee communities to create their own projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and local air pollution. TCC prioritizes investments in neighborhood-level projects that cut across multiple policy sectors and provide co-benefits such as improved local economies, health conditions, and support for disadvantaged communities.
Request: Together with local government and environmental justice partners, the League requests total funding of $100 million, as well as expanded eligibility to reach beyond the top 5 percent of disadvantaged communities.
Next Steps
In the coming weeks, both houses of the Legislature will finalize their budgets. The Senate and Assembly will create two different budgets, which they will negotiate into one through the Budget Conference Committee. During this process, the two houses will coalesce around one budget proposal that legislative leaders will take into negotiations with the Governor. A final budget package must be passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor by June 15.

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