Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Drive Local Investments in Infrastructure and Affordable Housing

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Winters) and several of her Assembly colleagues introduced ACA 4, a constitutional amendment which would give local governments flexibility in funding critical infrastructure and affordable housing projects. This bill is targeted to help the urgent needs of local communities, to increase the supply of affordable housing and address public infrastructure challenges.

“As a former Mayor of  Winters, and board member of regional water, housing and transportation agencies, I have seen first-hand the deterioration of our once world-class infrastructure,” said Aguiar-Curry. “ACA 4 will empower California communities to take action at the local level to improve their economies, neighborhoods and residents’ quality of life.”

ACA 4 would reduce the local vote threshold for approval of bond and special tax measures from two-thirds to 55%.  This vote threshold currently applies to school district measures. By making this change, the bill would put housing and infrastructure projects on par with school proposals, so that cities, counties, and special districts have a practical financing tool to address community needs. Local voters would still need to overwhelmingly – with 55% of the vote – support a bond or special tax in order for it to be approved. This means that the local officials will propose, and local voters will still control, how and where their infrastructure tax dollars would be spent.

“Local communities deserve a fair chance at making sure that their residents can afford to pay the rent or buy a home,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. “California’s housing affordability crisis requires real investment across the entire state, and I applaud Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry for helping us get there.”

Since 2001, over 2,200 local revenue measures have been placed before voters.  Nearly 80% of all two-thirds supermajority measures garnered more than 55% “yes” votes, but ultimately failed because they fell slightly short of the two-thirds threshold. Because this bill would change the Constitution, if passed by the Legislature, the proposal would then be put on the ballot for approval in the next statewide election.

For every dollar spent on infrastructure, there is a benefit of several dollars return to our economy from the activities that support construction. These critical projects include fixing streets and roads, constructing public safety facilities for police and fire departments, upgrading water and flood control systems, deploying broadband for internet connectivity, and maintaining parks. Not only do these construction and maintenance efforts improve communities, they also create new local jobs.

“We need a renewed effort by every level of government to support our economy with modern, safe infrastructure.  ACA 4 will empower local officials to ask their voters to approve their vision for how and when to invest in critical projects.  Local communities know their priorities best.  This constitutional amendment will offer an important tool for local leaders to support projects and determine how to pay for them,” said Aguiar-Curry.

ACA 4 is pending referral to its first policy committee in the Assembly, and is coauthored by Assemblymembers Chiu, Eggman, Eduardo Garcia, Gloria, Limón, McCarty, Mullin, Rubio, Santiago, and Ting.

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry represents California’s 4th Assembly District, which includes all of Lake, Napa and Yolo Counties, parts of Colusa County, Dixon in Solano County and Rohnert Park in Sonoma County. www.asm.ca.gov/aguiar-curry