Lawmakers Pass 2020-21 Budget Act Package

By Alyssa Silhi posted 06-26-2020 06:47 PM

  
While the Legislature passed SB 74, the 2020-21 Budget Act, by June 15 in accordance with the California Constitution -- which requires a balanced budget to be finalized by June 15th of each year --this budget was a placeholder and did not reflect an agreement with the Governor.

The Legislature and Governor have since come to agreement and today the Legislature passed AB 89, the Budget Bill Jr., reflecting this agreement. They additionally passed a host of budget trailer bills, which are measures that accompany the annual state budget and make adjustments to law necessary to carry out the budget. These will now be sent to the Governor for his signature, who has until July 1 to finalize the budget.

The budget process this year was highly unusual and significantly redacted due to COVID-19 response. Additionally, the final budget package could be more of a temporary pause as lawmakers may need to revisit spending measures later in the year due to uncertainty surrounding official tax revenues, a reliance on federal funding to spare cuts that may not be forthcoming, and a need to clean up appropriations based on circumstances as they develop during the ongoing public health crisis.

The final budget sent to the Governor does include limited CARES Act funding appropriations to cities and counties, but not to special districts. The state passed these funds through in a manner consistent with US Treasury guidelines, which do not designate special districts as eligible. 

While CSDA was tracking several items in the budget, two priorities CSDA advocacy staff was actively working on have successfully made it to the Governor:

1. Community Power Resiliency Funding. SB 74 included the $50 million appropriation accessible to local governments to assist in preparing for deenergization events and specifically included special districts who operate critical facilities and infrastructure as eligible to apply for the grant funds. However, the budget control language for this item was written in a way that was burdensome and could have required changes to an emergency plan to include power outage events prior to receipt of funds, which would have been unrealistic for some local agencies, or would have required submission of an emergency plan in full to CalOES, which could have compromised security and created confidentiality issues. CSDA worked with local government partners, the administration, and legislative budget staff to get this control language amended. Our requested amendments were included in AB 89. Local agencies now must submit only that portion of an emergency plan that deals with deenergization events or must certify that they will include plans for power outage events at the emergency plans next update. Look for more information in coming months on how to apply for these grants.

2. Paradise Irrigation District (PID) Funding Reversion. The Governor’s budget proposed reverting $7.3 million from PID second year funding that was authorized in last year’s appropriations. CSDA joined with a host of supporters to advocate for this funding to be maintained and the final version of the budget sent to the Governor restores this second year funding to PID.

A more thorough summary of the 2020-21 Budget Act will be released in next week’s eNews. Should you have any questions about the above items, please contact me at alyssas@csda.net.
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