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ACA 1 Offers Flexibility for Local Financing of Infrastructure and Affordable Housing

Cities urged to send letters to build support

March 11, 2019
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.
ACA 1, authored by Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry, provides additional flexibility to local agencies by reducing the voter-approval threshold from two-thirds to 55 percent for cities and counties to fund critical public infrastructure and affordable housing. The author is seeking to build support from local governments for this measure.
Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry, a former mayor and city council member from the City of Winters and former League board member, 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, she believes local governments need more flexibility to solve their own problems.    
The current jumble of vote thresholds affecting infrastructure and affordable housing investments in California make no 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 sought voter approval for the recent housing and park bonds, the vote requirement was a simple majority. Additionally, the vote threshold is just 55 percent for local school construction, contributing to even greater confusion.
Nearly 20 years ago, the state’s voters agreed (Prop. 39 of 2000) that the two-thirds threshold was too strict for investments in school construction and lowered that threshold to 55 percent. ACA 1 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 been bogged down in the Legislature, the potential exists for the Legislature to place this measure on the 2020 ballot. Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry is currently seeking to build support, while recognizing that the timing of any final legislative decisions on what to place on the ballot is still months away.
California voters have also demonstrated — through their past approval of major state school, housing and water bonds — that they understand the importance of investing in their future. The Legislature should pass ACA 1 and provide voters with an opportunity to weigh in on local investments on infrastructure and affordable housing — issues that are so critical to the state’s future and quality of life of California residents.

Take Action
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 1 into the search function.

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