On Thursday, the California Legislature approved the 2019-20 State Budget (Assembly Bill 74), which includes the bulk of the appropriations for the coming fiscal year.  It should be noted that as it stands, the State Budget Package is incomplete – there are nearly two dozen budget trailer bills on a variety of subjects that have yet to be finalized and considered by the Legislature.  These items of importance to RCRC include, but are not limited to, housing, homelessness, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), and safe and affordable drinking water. 

It is expected that further State Budget items will be adopted in the coming days to complete the entire State Budget Package for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year. 

Key Issues/Changes for RCRC Member Counties

The 2019-20 State Budget as approved today:

  • Continues to provide $644,000 for the State’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program for 2019-20;
  • Provides an additional $87.2 million to assist counties in replacing antiquated voting systems;
  • Provides more than $1.3 billion in Cap-and-Trade revenues for various greenhouse gas reduction programs, including $200 million for forest health and wildfire prevention projects pursuant to 2018’s Senate Bill 901 (Dodd) and $25 million for organics diversion programs;
  • Provides $100 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and $30 million from the General Fund to establish the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water program.  In addition, $3.4 million to the State Water Resources Control Board from the General Fund for administrative start-up costs.  The framework of the fund will be established in a yet-to-be-determined trailer bill;
  • Includes more than $300 million for disaster preparedness, response and recovery activities, including local assistance funds for recovery from the Camp Fire and other 2018 and 2017 wildfires, enhanced emergency response support for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), and funding for prepositioning of state and local government resources that are part of the statewide mutual aid system;
  • Includes an additional $70.3 million to offset IHSS Maintenance of Effort costs based on revised caseload projections and restoration of service hours;
  • Provides $75 million to CalOES for state and local preparation and response related to Public Safety Power Shutdown actions initiated to reduce the risk of utility-initiated wildfires during severe weather.  Funding will likely support installing back-up power at CAL FIRE and CalOES facilities, local planning and training, and establishing community centers with backup power and air conditioning;
  • Includes $650 million in one-time funding to assist local governments in addressing homelessness, though detailed funding allocation methodology is not specified; and,
  • Includes a $750 million one-time appropriation to the California Department of Housing and Community Development to assist local governments with meeting Regional Housing Need Assessment goals. Specific allocation methodology will be outlined in a yet-to-be determined trailer bill.

It is likely that over the next 4 or 5 days, further portions of the State Budget Package will be adopted.  The State Constitution requires a spending plan be in place by July 1st.