I’m fired up and you should be too.
Last Friday, Governor Newsom’s “May Revise” to the State Budget set forth a number of priorities that all but call out our CARPD members by name. That included a policy focus on protecting Natural Resources and ensuring Outdoor Access for All, developing emergency preparedness infrastructure, confronting the issue of homelessness, environmental protection and resilience, and (of course) the Pandemic response. Clearly, each and every one of these issues has a very real and direct connection to what you do on a daily basis.
That these items would be the budgetary focus is really of no surprise. For the past year we have all heard the general public and our elected officials glowingly speak to the value of our local parks and the instrumental role our agencies play in serving our communities and bettering the general well-being of our citizens.
So, it would be natural to expect that, when the time came for the State to allocate a record surplus and divvy up $27B in federal assistance, the State would finally recognize one of its most valuable (and most impacted) assets: the “Do-it-all Districts” that make up the CARPD membership. Somehow, that was not the case.
Governor Newsom’s May Revise failed to include explicit COVID-19 relief funding for all special districts, a request that has been actively pursued throughout this legislative session by a coalition of special districts that included CARPD and was led by the California Special Districts Association. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), Little Hoover Commission, 46 State Legislators, 15 members of Congress, both of our US Senators and over 750 organizations have weighed in urgently requesting funding for COVID-19 relief for special districts.
What now? A Call to Action
Please know, the Governor’s May Revise is not an end product. It can be changed by the Legislature and it is imperative that our critical funding request attains a priority status to be included in the negotiations between the Governor and Legislative leadership as they work to finalize the State Budget and corresponding trailer bills over the next weeks.
For that reason, we are calling upon YOU to have your voice heard and ensure our members’ contributions are valued and our efforts are properly accounted for in the State Budget.
Please send an email today to your Senator and Assembly Member with a copy to the Governor and Legislative leaders listed at the end of the attached draft letter. I have also attached a word document with the relevant email addresses for our State Budget committees as well as my email from this afternoon for reference. Please copy me on any submissions.
Our Districts have done too much and been ignored for too long. Join me and your colleagues in making sure our legislators remember the essential role our agencies have played and will continue to play in our State's recovery.
-Matthew Duarte, CARPD Executive Director