CSAC Bulletin Article

County Budget Priorities Advance

January 31, 2019

Several county budget priories passed their first hurdle this week, as the Assembly Budget Committee approved AB 72 and AB 73. The bills would make it easier for the state to reimburse counties for disaster-related costs and provide property tax backfills to counties and other local agencies for fire-related property losses. They also provide funding to modernize the 9-1-1 system and to assist with emergency preparedness outreach.

The Governor’s Administration and the Legislature working together to appropriate these funds as quickly as possible, helping the state’s many fire-ravaged communities recover and preparing the state for future events. Tax backfills and debris waivers help counties, cities, and special districts maintain critical services during their recovery, while funding for 9-1-1, along with new and updated equipment and early warning systems, will help limit the effects of future disasters.

CSAC’s overarching budget letter to the Governor, also sent this week, expresses the association’s support for several parts of his budget proposal, not only disaster response and recovery provisions like the ones in AB 72 and AB 73, but also In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and homelessness and housing.

The IHSS proposal provides a sustainable model for funding an important program that improves lives and reduces the cost of care by keeping seniors and disabled Californians out of state facilities. The budget proposal also allows counties to deliver sorely needed behavioral health and public health services.

The homelessness and housing aspects of the Governor’s budget build on last year’s historic investment in these programs, which began a partnership between the state and local agencies. Emergency shelters, navigation centers, rental assistance, and supportive services, which the budget would fund, are critical to addressing the homelessness crisis in the short-term. The budget also addresses long-term needs by providing state funds for local planning, zoning, and permitting, which will help the supply of housing across the spectrum, for people of all income levels and needs.

While AB 72 and AB 73 are advancing quickly, most proposals will have to wait until after the Governor’s May Revision to move. Once the state’s revenue picture becomes clearer, negotiations on major issues—like IHSS, homelessness, and housing—will begin in earnest. CSAC will continue to advocate, monitor, and report on these issues as they develop.

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