ACA-1: The COMMUNITY SAY FOR COMMUNITY NEEDS ACT
Cities, counties, and special districts face numerous challenges in funding important public infrastructure and housing projects for their communities. According to the Department of Housing & Community Development, in the last 10 years California has built an average of 80,000 homes per year when the need is approximately 180,000 per year to keep up with growth. The status of infrastructure in our state is similarly challenged, with stormwater management, transit development, park facilities, streets and roads, and broadband expansion all underfunded with limited options. Local officials must have a greater role in proposing and funding local needs that often do not rise to the top of regional, state, or federal funding lists.
The California Constitution currently requires a two-thirds threshold of voter approval at the local level for both General Obligation bonds and special taxes, regardless of what the city, county, or special district proposes to use the funds for. In 2018, an overwhelming majority of voters from Santa Cruz County, the City of Santa Rosa and City of San Jose supported three local measures totaling $714 million in dedicated funding for the production of affordable housing. However, even though each of these measures received strong majority support from voters (reaching at least 55% support), the policies failed to be passed into law owing to the severely restrictive two-thirds threshold needed to secure voter approval. Local revenue is an important component to create local affordable homes and can often be leveraged with five state and federal dollars for every one local dollar spent on a project. The two-thirds threshold cost these local communities an estimated $3.5 billion in new funding for affordable housing development when accounting for this state and federal match.
By providing local governments a more realistic financing option to increase affordable homes and to address the numerous local public infrastructure challenges cities, counties, and special districts are facing, ACA 1 will support local voters’ decision-making opportunities. ACA 1 will strengthen local communities and level the playing field and create parity with school districts so that cities, counties, and special districts have a viable financing tool to address critical community needs for affordable homes and public infrastructure. Local voters would still need to overwhelmingly support a bond or special tax (with 55%) in order for it to be approved, thus protecting voters’ control over how their tax dollars are spent. The bill also provides specific requirements for voter protection, public notice, and financial accountability.
CALL TO ACTION!
ACA 1 is being heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 16. Please help support passage of this San Diego Housing Federation priority bill by letting our local representatives on the Appropriations Committee know of your support. Read and use SDHF's letter of support as a template here. Show your strong support for ACA 1 by submitting a letter or calling your lcoal representatives who sit on the Appropriations Committee:
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Chair
Email: Evan McLaughlin, Chief of Staff, Evan.McLaughlin@asm.ca.gov
Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, Committee Member
Email: Lance Witmondt, Chief of Staff, Lance.Witmondt@asm.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 319-2077
Let the members know that you support ACA 1 because:
- ACA 1 will help local governments place housing bond measures on the ballot, providing the crucial local funding that can draw down state and federal resources for affordable housing and leverage those investments
- ACA 1 will allow a supermajority of voters (55 percent) to approve lcoal measures aimed at addressing the affordable housing and homelessness crisis
- ACA 1 provides the San Diego region with tools to help ensure we receive our fair share of statewide affordable housing dollars