This week, the Assembly approved Assembly Bill 72 and Assembly 73, which address urgent statewide funding needs with respect to wildfire response, emergency preparedness, and drinking water. Assembly Bill 72 and Assembly Bill 73 now await action in the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee. Of particular importance to RCRC member counties is AB 72, which would make immediate appropriations relating to wildfire, drinking water, and other urgent statewide needs.
AB 72 key components:
- Three years of property tax backfill for local agencies in Butte and Lake Counties due to the severity of recent wildfire damage and the additional time those communities will need to rebuild and recover;
- Funding allocation for the emergency preparedness public awareness campaign to prepare for future emergency events; and,
- Funding allocation of $10 million to provide funding to address urgent drinking water needs.
While RCRC is in support of AB 72, RCRC prepared a letter requesting the following: adding Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma Counties as areas to receive additional years of property tax backfill; amending the language to specifically define “disadvantaged communities” as those with a median household income less than 80 percent of the statewide average; and, amending the language to ensure that non-profits are assisting disadvantaged communities.
AB 72 and AB 73 passed the Assembly Budget Committee with 28 “ayes,” 0 “noes,” and 4 not voting. It should be noted that Assembly Members Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), James Gallagher (R-Yuba City),, and Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) voted “aye” on these bills.