Legislature Approves 2017-18 State Budget
On June 27, Governor Brown signed the 2017-2018 State Budget (AB 97), which contains total spending of $183 billion, including special funds and bond funds, with $125.1 billion in General Fund spending. Included among the various budget trailer bills signed by the Governor was SB 96, which revises the public works contractor registration program run by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), as discussed further on page 5. Another signed budget trailer bill, AB 119, requires public agency employers to give labor representatives access to newly-hired employees during onboarding orientations, as detailed on page 4. AB 119 also exempts personal email addresses of employees of public agencies from disclosure under the California Public Records Act unless the personal email address is used by the employee to conduct public business.
The final budget bill includes the following additional provisions affecting special districts:
- Invests $10 million for prescribed burning to address the tree mortality crisis and reduce fire fuel;
- Funds mandates at approximately $34.5 million for mandates related primarily to law enforcement and property taxes. The budget continues to suspend mandates consistent with previous years, with mandates suspended in prior years totaling $596 million;
- Rejects the “Water Conservation as a Way of Life” provision that would have required the State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Water Resources to set long-term urban water use efficiency standards by May 20, 2021. However, related legislation, including AB 968, AB 1654 and AB 1667, will be considered through the traditional policy process later this year.
- AB 71 (Chiu) Tax Credits for Affordable Housing – Support
Status: Assembly Floor
Increases tax credits for low-income housing projects by $300 million. The bill is similar to bills CSDA supported in 2015 and 2016. This year’s version includes a funding source by prohibiting homeowners from deducting the interest from the mortgage on their second home from their state taxes. That amount is estimated to be about $300 million.
- AB 733 (Berman) Funding for Climate Adaptation Projects – Support
Status: Senate Floor
Allows an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD) to fund projects that enable communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change including, but not limited to, higher average temperatures, decreased air and water quality, the spread of infectious and vector-borne diseases, other public health impacts, extreme weather events, sea level rise, flooding, heat waves, wildfires, and drought. Special districts may choose to participate in an EIFD.
- SB 2 (Atkins) Building Homes and Jobs Act – Support
Creates an ongoing funding source for affordable housing by imposing a $75 recording fee on certain real estate documents. The money derived from the fee would go to the Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund, created by SB 2, to fund a variety of affordable housing related programs, including workforce housing. This bill is similar to previous efforts that CSDA supported.
- SB 231 (Hertzberg) Prop. 218 Omnibus Amendment – Support
Status: Assembly Floor
Defines the term “sewer” to include stormwater sewers in addition to sanitary sewers, in an attempt to clarify that stormwater charges should be considered property-related fees, subject to the majority protest provisions of Proposition 218 instead of a special tax two-thirds vote threshold.
- SB 778 (Hertzberg) Water Charge – Watch
Status: Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee
Requires the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to track and publish on its website an analysis of all voluntary and ordered consolidations of water systems. Previous versions of the bill also created the Safe Drinking Water Fund and continuously appropriated money to the fund to implement SB 88 (Budget, 2015), which granted the State Water Resources Control Board power to force the consolidation of water systems.
- SCA 4 (Hertzberg) Prop. 218 Constitutional Amendment – Watch
Intends to amend the State Constitution to allow local agencies to offer low-income residents reduced water rates, and provide enhanced authority for conservation pricing.