Government Finance and Operations 07/09/2012
SB 1156 (Steinberg) – Support in Concept
As Amended June 27, 2012
SB 1156, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would create a structure for continuing economic development activities similar to redevelopment in certain areas, mainly transit priority areas.
The foundation of any support is allowing counties the option whether to financially participate in tax increment financing. CSAC believes in an approach that encourages collaboration between counties and cities to provide the kind of economic development envisioned by SB 1156. This approach would not only allow counties appropriate control over their own general funds, but necessitates discussions about what kinds of development benefits the community as a whole.
CSAC’s chief area of concern is about the governance structure. The bill as currently drafted is not clear about whether a county’s permission is required before the creation of a Sustainable Communities Investment Authority. Likewise, for governance options where the county is not a fully equal partner with a city, the required permission should include specific minimum information about how the tax increment funds will be used and for how long the funds will be diverted. Any changes to that basic information should also require the permission of any entities whose money is being diverted for those purposes.
A new structure for community development and affordable housing should give counties and cities working together the power to not only spur economic development, but at the same time provide the public infrastructure that would help ensure truly sustainable communities. This infrastructure should include transitional housing for people entering or reentering the workforce after incarceration or a childhood spent in the foster system, as well as others who need transitional and supportive housing. It should include the child care facilities that allow parents to work, or the clinics that keep those housed locally healthy, working, and out of emergency rooms.
CSAC was joined by other stakeholders at the recent Assembly Local Government Committee hearing and expressed our interest in continuing to work with the author on this concept. Senator Steinberg’s staff committed to a continuing dialogue in the hopes of garnering broad support for this new approach to local economic development and housing. The Assembly Local Government Committee approved SB 1156 and it now moves to Assembly Appropriations for consideration.
AB 2080 (Gordon) – Support
As amended June 26, 2012
This week, the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee heard AB 2080, Assembly Member Rich Gordon’s measure to eliminate the requirement that a voter be ill or physically disabled in order to designate someone else to return his or her marked ballot. This makes statute consistent with current practice.
AB 2080 was approved by the Committee and now moves to the Senate Floor for action.
AB 1436 (Feuer) – Oppose Unless Amended
As amended June 16, 2012
AB 1436 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer was heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee this week. Counties will recall this measure authorizes same-day voter registration in an effort to improve voter turnout.
Regrettably, CSAC has noted the significant costs associated with this program and has expressed our concerns to the author, specifically requesting an appropriation be included to provide funding to counties to implement. To date, such an amendment has not been concluded.
The Senate Public Safety Committee approved AB 1436 and the measure now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for its consideration.