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Mayor Garcia Sent This Letter Telling State Lawmakers City Supports Sac'to-Written Constitutional Amendment -- That Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n Opposes As Attack on Prop 13 -- To Reduce 2/3 Voter-Approval Req't To 55% For Local Debt-Bonds And Special Taxes For "Affordable" Housing, Homeless Supportive Housing And Very Broadly-Defined "Public Infrastructure" Spending


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(Mar. 29, 2019, 11:10 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has sent a letter telling state lawmakers that the City of Long Beach supports a Sacramento-proposed state constitutional amendment that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association strongly opposes as an attack on Proposition 13.

If put on the ballot by 2/3 of Assembly members and state Senators (Democrats hold super-majorities in both chambers) and approved by a majority of CA voters, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 (ACA 1, text here) would reduce Prop 13's 2/3 voter-approval requirement to 55% for City Hall-sought debt-bonds and special taxes for "affordable" housing (including for low-, or very low income households), homeless supportive housing (including for persons deemed at "high risk of long-term or intermittent homelessness") and "public infrastructure" very broadly defined, including but not limited to the following projects:

  • a) Water or protect water quality;
  • b) Sanitary sewer;
  • c) Treatment of wastewater or reduction of pollution from stormwater runoff;
  • d) Protection of property from impacts of sea level rise;
  • e) Parks and recreation facilities;
  • f) Open space;
  • g) Improvements to transit and streets and highways;
  • h) Flood control;
  • i) Broadband internet access service expansion in underserved areas;
  • j) Local hospital construction;
  • k) Public safety buildings or facilities, equipment related to fire suppression, emergency response equipment, or interoperable communications equipment for direct and exclusive use by fire, emergency response, police or sheriff personnel; and,
  • l) Public library facilities.
  • [Scroll down for further.]






    In his letter dated March 20, 2019, Mayor Garcia states in pertinent part:

    ...ACA 1 would provide Long Beach with a more realistic financing option to fund an increase in the supply of affordable housing, and to address the numerous local public infrastructure challenges cities are facing. The City supports policies that promote the development of affordable and accessible housing. Over the last decade, the City has facilitated the construction of 1,694 new affordable units, preserved nearly 2,000 units, rehabilitated 367 units, and passed the voter-supported Measure A to fund infrastructure and public safety improvements. In addition, the City is developing inclusionary zoning and tenant assistance policies and has 800 affordable units in the development pipeline. To achieve the same or greater levels of affordable housing production moving forward, it is critical to provide opportunities for additional funding sources. ACA 1 would help the City achieve this goal.

    ACA 1 will create a viable financing tool to help address important community needs for affordable housing and public infrastructure. This proposal also preserves local votersí control over how their tax dollars are spent, since voters would still need to overwhelmingly support a bond or special tax (with 55 percent) for it to be approved. Rising housing costs are impacting nearly all California communities. ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry) not only allows local officials to have a greater role in funding local housing and infrastructure needs, but it gives Long Beach residents a tool to directly impact their communities.

    Given these reasons, the City of Long Beach supports ACA 1 (Aguiar-Curry)...

    Sponsor

    Sponsor

    Under LB's City Charter, LB's non-voting Mayor has no authority to set policy for the City of Long Beach; a City Council majority decides city policy in publicly voted actions...and the Council never explicitly discussed or cast a recorded vote to support ACA 1.

    The Council did vote to approve a "state legislative agenda," an annual list of general policies that the City will support or oppose, but they don't explicitly endorse amending the state constitution to change Proposition 13 or approve making it easier to increase LB taxpayers' burden. The Council-approved 2019 state legislative agenda simply includes the following:

    Support policies, legislation and grants that increase funding for affordable housing when equitable to Long Beach...

    ...Support policies, legislation and grants to maximize funding and funding flexibility for the development and enhancement of affordable and/or accessible housing within the City...

    The Council also previously approved a number of strategies to promote affordable housing, one of which states:

    Track federal and State legislative activities and support legislation that increases funding for affordable housing.

    Sponsor


    The Mayor's March 20 letter came one week before ACA 1 received its first and only scheduled Assembly policy committee hearing. On March 27, the Assembly's Local Government Committee (Dems holding a majority) voted 5-2-1 to send ACA 1 to the Assembly Appropriations Committee (a fiscal analysis/non-policy committee one step from the Assembly floor.)

    Sponsor

    Sponsor

    The Assembly Local Government Committee's legislative analysis of ACA 1 stated in pertinent part:

    SUMMARY: Proposes amendments to the California Constitution to allow a city, county, or special district, with 55% voter approval, to incur bonded indebtedness or impose specified special taxes to fund projects for affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, or public infrastructure. Specifically, this bill:

    • 1) Allows a city, county, city and county, or special district, to incur indebtedness in the form of general obligation (GO) bonds to fund the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing for persons at risk of chronic homelessness, including persons with mental illness, or the acquisition or lease of real property for public infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing, as defined, to be approved by 55% of the voters voting on the proposition.

    • 2) Allows a city, county, city and county, or special district, to impose, extend, or increase a sales and use tax or transactions and use tax, or parcel tax, for the purposes of funding the construction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing for persons at risk of chronic homelessness, including persons with mental illness, or the acquisition or lease of real property for public infrastructure, affordable housing, or permanent supportive housing, as defined, if the proposition proposing that tax is approved by 55% of the voters voting on the proposition.

    • 3) Defines the following terms:

      a) "Affordable housing" to include housing developments, or portions of housing developments, that provide workforce housing affordable to households earning up to 150% of countywide median income, and housing developments, or portions of housing developments, that provide housing affordable to lower, low-, or very low income households;

      b) "At risk of chronic homelessness" to include, but not be limited to, persons who are at high risk of long-term or intermittent homelessness, including persons with mental illness exiting institutionalized settings, including, but not limited to, jail and mental health facilities, who were homeless prior to admission, transition age youth experiencing homelessness or with significant barriers to housing stability, and others, as defined in program guidelines;

      c) "Permanent supportive housing" to mean housing with no limit on length of stay, that is occupied by the target population, and that is linked to onside or offside services that assist residents in retaining the housing, improving their health status, and maximizing their ability to live and, when possible, work in the community. "Permanent supportive housing" includes associated facilities, if those facilities are used to provide services to housing residents; and,

      d) "Special district" to mean an agency of the state, formed pursuant to general law or special act, for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions with limited geographic boundaries, and includes a transit district, except that "special district" does not include a school district, redevelopment agency, or successor agency to a dissolved redevelopment agency.

      4) Defines "public infrastructure" to include, but not be limited to, projects that provide any of the following:

      a) Water or protect water quality;

    • b) Sanitary sewer;
    • c) Treatment of wastewater or reduction of pollution from stormwater runoff;
    • d) Protection of property from impacts of sea level rise;
    • e) Parks and recreation facilities;
    • f) Open space;
    • g) Improvements to transit and streets and highways;
    • h) Flood control;
    • i) Broadband internet access service expansion in underserved areas;
    • j) Local hospital construction;
    • k) Public safety buildings or facilities, equipment related to fire suppression, emergency response equipment, or interoperable communications equipment for direct and exclusive use by fire, emergency response, police or sheriff personnel; and,
    • l) Public library facilities.
    • ...Author's Statement. According to the author, "In practice, local officials propose a local bond or special tax, and then it is up to the voters in that community to decide whether they support the idea or not. Local governments and local voters know best what their communities need. In some neighborhoods this means a new library or fire station; in others this means an increase in the affordable housing stock. ACA 1 will empower local governments to address local priorities without needing to wait for state and federal funding initiatives. A majority vote tax measure is much more likely to pass, while voters would still need to overwhelmingly support a bond or special tax in order for it to be approved with 55 percent of the vote. ACA 1 will level the playing field and create parity between school districts and cities, counties, and special districts, so that all local governments have a viable financing tool to address community needs."

      ...Arguments in Support. Supporters argue that when the state seeks voter approval for a statewide measure, it requires a simple majority, but when a city or county seeks voter approval for a similar investment, they face a stringent two-thirds vote threshold. Supporters believe ACA 1 will level the playing field and create parity with school districts, which need 55% approval for school construction, so that cities, counties and special districts have a viable financing tool to help address important community needs for affordable housing, public infrastructure, and permanent supportive housing. Because of the numerous challenges in funding important public infrastructure and housing projects for their communities, supporters argue that this constitutional amendment is necessary to deal with the urgent need for investment in housing, and the chronic underfunding of local infrastructure to improve storm water management, transit development, park facilities, and streets and roads. Supporters also argue that one of the major obstacles to building housing, particularly in infill areas, is the cost of critical infrastructure, which often neither the developer or the city or county has the money to fund.

      Arguments in Opposition. Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association argues that "ACA 1 repeals one of the most important protections in Proposition 13 by lowering the existing twothirds vote threshold for both local bonds and special taxes to 55 percent for a myriad of purposes. While revenue raised from ACA 1 may slightly increase the affordable housing stock, it will also have the perversely negative effect of increasing the cost of housing dramatically. Nationwide, according to the National Association of Home Builders, an increase of just $1,000 in the new median home price knocks 120,000 potential buyers out of the market. Making it easier to approve hundreds of dollars a year in new annual bonds and parcel won't make it easier to afford a home, and it won't make it easier for renters, a third of whom spend half their take home pay on rent, to be able to save. With these housing expenses, it's little wonder that California's homeownership rate of 54 percent is well off the national average of 64 percent, and that the large majority of the 100,000 people who leave California each year make less than $90,000. Proposition 13 is not the cause of California's evaporating middle-class."

      REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:

      Support

      American Planning Association, California Chapter
      Association of California Healthcare Districts
      California Association of Councils of Government
      California Association of Housing Authorities
      California Association of Sanitation Agencies
      California Coalition for Rural Housing
      California Contract Cities Association
      California Housing Consortium
      California Housing Partnership
      California Labor Federation, Afl-Cio
      California Library Association
      California Park & Recreation Society
      California Professional Firefighters
      California Special Districts Association
      California State Association Of Counties
      California State Association Of Electrical Workers
      California State Council Of Laborers
      California State Pipe Trades Council
      California Transit Association
      California Yimby
      City of Camarillo
      City Of Davis
      City of Gustine
      City Of Laguna Beach
      City Of Lodi
      City of Manteca
      City Of Moorpark
      City Of San Luis Obispo
      County of Santa Clara
      East Bay for Everyone
      East Bay Municipal Utility District
      East Bay Regional Parks District
      Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce
      Housing California
      International Union Of Elevator Constructors, Local 18
      International Union Of Elevator Constructors, Local 8
      International Union Of Operating Engineers, Cal-Nevada Conference
      League Of California Cities
      Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
      Non-Profit Housing Association Of Northern California
      Professional Engineers In California Government
      San Diego Housing Federation
      San Mateo County-City/County Association Of Governments
      Santa Clara Valley Water District
      Silicon Valley At Home (Sv@Home)
      Solano Transportation Authority
      Southern California Association Of Nonprofit Housing
      Spur
      The Two Hundred
      Urban Counties Of California
      Ventura Council Of Governments
      Western States Council Sheet Metal, Air, Rail And Transportation
      
      Oppose
      
      Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
      Valley Industry and Commerce Association



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