Yesterday, the Brown Administration released details of the Governor’s 2016-17 proposed Budget. While California’s overall Budget picture remains positive, Governor Brown continues to urge Budget constraint in anticipation of the next economic recession. While unveiling his proposed State Budget for 2016-17, the Governor opined “…it would be short-sighted in the extreme to now embark upon a host of new spending only to see massive cuts when the next recession hits.”
To reflect this constraint and anticipate the historic trends that have occurred since 1945, the Governor’s 2016-17 proposed Budget continues to bolster the State’s Rainy Day Fund and pay down State debts and liabilities, many of which continue to satisfy K-12 education obligations. Much of the General Fund surplus revenue that is not obligated to debts has been allocated to one-time programs, primarily infrastructure-related projects.
In total, the Governor’s 2016-17 proposed $170 billion Budget reflects a spending plan that includes $122.6 billion General Fund expenditures (a nearly $8 billion growth in General Fund spending), $45 billion special fund expenditures, and $3 billion bond expenditures. Of primary importance is the Governor’s call to address the Managed Care Organization Tax (MCO) shortfall that looms as a result of recent federal decisions surrounding the process California has utilized in securing federal Medicaid monies. The MCO tax plan proposed by the Administration provides nearly $1 billion to comply with recent federal requirements, and is expected to be addressed in the Special Session on Healthcare, which was convened last summer. In addition, the Governor is calling upon the Legislature to enact his proposal to levy additional revenues for transportation. A significant amount of these proceeds would be dedicated to local governments to address existing streets and roads maintenance and rehabilitation needs. The Governor also expects transportation funding to be addressed in the other Special Session convened last summer for transportation.
Key Issues/Changes for RCRC Member Counties
The Governor’s 2016-17 proposed Budget:
Provides $644,000 for the State’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program for 2016-17;
Provides $250 million for local jail construction projects for counties that have not been awarded monies under recent jail funding programs;
Allocates $3.1 billion in Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds for greenhouse gas reduction programs including transportation, forest health, and waste diversion;
Provides an ongoing $2.6 million for the support of local fairs as well as another $4 million for critical infrastructure needs to complement the $7 million provided last year; and,
Provides monies to commence regulatory activities associated with medical marijuana including funding for environmental clean-up activities associated with cultivation.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced that the initial basin boundary modification request submission period is now open through March 31, 2016. This is the first basin boundary modification request submission period. Future submission periods will correlate with updates to Bulletin 118 in years ending with 0 or 5, with 2019 being the next identified submission period for the 2020 Bulletin 118 update. There may be an additional submission period in 2018 based upon demand from local agencies. Only local agencies are eligible to request basin boundary modifications, but the process is open to the public for review and comment.
DWR has established a series of supporting documents to guide users through the process which can be accessed here.
If seeking a boundary modification, each local agency is required to submit to DWR an Initial Notification to advertise their exploration of the modification prior to submission of the basin boundary modification request. All initial notifications and basin boundary modification requests can be reviewed in the Basin Boundary Modification Request System (BBMRS), which can be accessed here. Once a request is submitted, reviewed, and deemed by DWR to be complete, a 30-day public input period is opened. Public input can be submitted to each specific request using the BBMRS system. Technical reviews will not be made by the department until the 30-day public input period concludes and local agencies have provided any additional information in response to the public input.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule to revise the permit process for Phase II municipal separate storm sewer systems serving jurisdictions of fewer than 100,000 in an urbanized area. The proposed rule would also apply to small cities outside an urban area where the State has determined that a storm water discharge causes or could cause an adverse impact on water quality. Military bases, universities, large hospital or prison complexes, and highways are also subject to the proposed rule. Public comments on the proposed rule are due March 21, 2016.
The rule is a scaled-back version of an earlier draft and would not impose new discharge requirements on small cities. The rule responds to a court order to ensure administrative and public review and comment of storm water management goals for small cities. The rule proposes three approaches that differ from current practice and requests input from the public. One approach would call for a general permit that includes specific requirements to be adopted after public review and comment; another approach would be similar to current practice whereby a discharge notice is filed but now specific control objectives would be required with the opportunity for public review and a hearing; and the third approach would be a combination of the other approaches, the application of which would be determined by the State.
Prop 1 SWGP FINAL Guidelines/Storm Water Resource Plan Final Guidelines
The State Water Resources Control Board approved the Prop 1 Storm Water Grant Program (SWGP) Guidelines and the Storm Water Resource Plan Guidelines at the December 15, 2015 Board Meeting. The Prop 1 SWGP Guidelines and Plan Guidelines can be accessed here. Also included on the website is the Self-Certification form for the Storm Water Resource Plans.
Prop 1 SWGP Solicitation Workshop Announcement
Solicitation Workshops are being offered for the Prop 1 Storm Water Grant Proram (SWGP) planning and Round 1 implementation grants. The workshops will provide valuable information on how to apply, discussion on each question associated with the applications, and feedback on potential projects. Detailed information on the workshops can be accessed here.
Job Opening: Tehama County Senior or Associate Transportation Planner
Cindy Messer Appointed as Assistant Chief Deputy Director at DWR
Cindy Messer, the Deputy Director of the Planning, Performance and Technology Division at the Delta Stewardship Council has been appointed as the Assistant Chief Deputy Director position at the Department of Water Resources (DWR). Messer previously held various positions at the Delta Conservancy and Division of Environmental Sciences at DWR. She will be working with Carl Torgersen who was recently appointed as the Chief Deputy Director.
RCRC members are encouraged to submit comments on regulatory matters to state and federal regulatory bodies, and to provide a copy to RCRC’s Government Affairs staff. Click “Read More” to access information related to the current status of regulations impacting California’s rural counties.
Proposed Exceptional Events Rule Revisions and Draft Wildfire Guidance: Revises the Exceptional Events Rule to clarify demonstration of events such as prescribed burns and wildfires, provides guidance to air agencies on procedures. Agency: United States Environmental Protection Agency Status: Draft available for public comment, comment date extended to February 3, 2016. Proposed regulatory language and related documents can be downloaded here. RCRC Comments: RCRC is seeking member county input. RCRC Advocate: Staci Heaton firstname.lastname@example.org
Draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California: Provides strategies and potential actions for the management and conservation of gray wolves in California. Agency: California Department of Fish and Wildlife Status: Draft available for public comment, comments due February 15, 2016. Draft plan and related documents can be downloaded here. RCRC Comments: RCRC is seeking member county input. RCRC Advocate: Staci Heaton email@example.com