Government Finance and Operations 08/02/2011
AB 506 (Wieckowski) – Oppose
As Amended August 31, 2011
CSAC remains opposed to AB 506, by Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski, a measure that counties will recall requires local agencies to first participate in a “neutral evaluation” process prior to seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. We anticipate additional amendments to AB 506 to cross the desk today; these amendments, however, do not substantively improve the bill.
CSAC and our local government partners continue to lobby the state Senate and the Governor’s Office on the severe consequences to local communities should AB 506 be enacted. We urge counties to continue to communicate their concerns to their legislative representatives. Check out the CSAC website for our letters.
SB 193 (Committee on Governance and Finance) – Support
Enrolled on September 1, 2011
SB 193, by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, would retroactively cure the minor errors and omissions that public officials make throughout the year. In turn, this will give investors confidence in public agencies’ securities and therefore lead to lower interest rates for state and local bonds. They do not correct fraud, corruption, or unconstitutional acts. These “validating acts” are traditionally noncontroversial and receive “aye” votes from all legislators, since with their passage everyone wins.
However, when Senator Wolk presented the validating acts earlier this year in the Assembly Local Government Committee, Vice Chair Alejo asked for amendments to all three bills. Mr. Alejo said that he was concerned about the actions taken by some redevelopment agencies in reaction to the Governor’s proposal to end redevelopment agencies. He worried that the validating acts might be used inappropriately to attempt to protect questionable asset transfers and interagency borrowing. Mr. Alejo’s amendments removed redevelopment agencies from the bills’ protections. The Assembly Local Government Committee adopted Mr. Alejo’s amendments on a 7-0 vote. In reaction, the California Redevelopment Agency and the League of California Cities withdrew its earlier support for the three bills. Because of all of this, the first validating act, SB 191, failed passage on the Assembly Floor earlier this summer. SB 192, the second validating act, did not come up for a vote since, as an urgency measure, it would have required but been unable to obtain a two-thirds vote.
SB 193 is on its way to the Governor’s desk.
SB 3 (Padilla) – Support
Enrolled on September 1, 2011
SB 3, by Senator Alex Padilla, would extend to 2015 authority for the CPUC to use the California High-Cost Funds A and B to support telephone and broadband services in high-cost service areas, primarily rural, and to support small independent providers. It would also explicitly require contributions to the fund from Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) revenues.
The high-cost funds, A and B, subsidize the cost of providing telecommunication services to rural and hard-to-reach parts of the state. They are funded with surcharges on all telephone bills and help ensure that access to phone and broadband services are universal, to everyone’s benefit. This ensures that residents of rural counties and the hard-to-reach places in all counties have affordable access to the telecommunications system that is so important to our economy, our safety, and our daily lives.
SB 3 is on its way to the Governor’s desk.