Sacramento – Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s introduction of the 2021-22 State Budget, League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman issued the statement below:
“We appreciate the Governor’s commitment in the 2021-22 State Budget to provide new investments to support unhoused residents and strengthen the state’s wildfire resiliency and emergency response efforts. Securing funding and resources to assist individuals experiencing homelessness, and improving state-local coordination to strengthen disaster preparedness and resiliency have been and continue to be top priorities for California cities.
“Cal Cities also understands the proposed relief for our communities’ small businesses who have been impacted by the pandemic. Our Main Street businesses are the backbone of our local economies, and our cities provide the foundation for their success. We share the Governor’s belief that economic recovery in our state must be equitable, inclusive, and broad-based. But, we are disappointed. There is zero funding in the Governor’s budget proposal to address the billions of dollars in budget shortfalls that cities have experienced due to COVID-19, while working on the front lines for months, protecting our communities and delivering services throughout the pandemic.
“For more than ten months, cities have provided personal protective equipment (PPE), ensured the most vulnerable in our communities have access to food and shelter, and helped small businesses survive through local grant programs. These efforts are essential to the viability, recovery, and rebuilding of our communities, yet are not sustainable without meaningful direct fiscal support from the state government. Without this support, cities will be forced to cut police officers, firefighters, planners, public works engineers, other essential local government workers, and the core services they deliver. This will only cause further harm at a time when the need is unprecedented.
“The state and federal governments have told cities to wait their turn for relief, and while others have received relief, cities have not received enough of the available dollars to cover the significant shortfalls they’re experiencing. In order to remain resilient throughout this pandemic and accelerate the strong recovery our state needs, direct state investment in our cities is crucial. With the vaccine, there’s a light at the end of tunnel, but we aren’t yet there, and cities could be distressed for many months to come, hampering the recovery we need.
“Cal Cities agrees with the Governor that our state is in a housing crisis, and we agree if you want to go far, you must go together. However, we are concerned with the ‘all stick and no carrot’ approach the Governor has taken in his budget proposal to hold local governments accountable for increasing housing production without providing them with the partnerships, resources, and tools needed to help jumpstart construction. Cities remain committed to being part of the solution to increase the supply and affordability of housing, and we are hoping for a more collaborative approach to help achieve our mutual goals.
“Cal Cities looks forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature in the coming months to prioritize investments that will ensure a safe, equitable, and expedited recovery for all Californians.”
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.