Thursday, February 11, 2016 The CSAC Bulletin
Finance and Operations
For more information, please contact Dorothy Holzem, Legislative Representative, at 916.650.8133, or Betsy Hammer, Legislative Analyst, at 916.650.8108.

County Budget Adoption Streamlining – Request for Comments

CSAC is seeking comments regarding a legislative proposal related to county budget adoption. The proposal would give counties the option to remove the requirement to adopt a “recommended budget” provided they approve their final budget on or before the start of the new fiscal year.

Under existing law, Boards of Supervisors must annually approve a recommended budget on or before June 30 and, after holding a public hearing on the recommended budget, must adopt a final budget on or before October 2.

The proposed change would give counties the option to eliminate the step of formally adopting a recommended budget if that county conducts the required budget hearing and adopts its final budget on or before June 30.

Proponents of this proposal believe it will provide counties greater flexibility in their budget adoption process. CSAC is seeking feedback on or before February 25. Please share any questions or concerns with Dorothy Holzem via email or call (916) 650-8133.

Reversal Sought in FAA Jet Fuel Sales Tax Decision

Last fall counties were notified of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision that required all state and local sales tax revenue derived from jet fuel sales to be channeled to aviation system purposes, despite local voter approved action or constitutional protections. Earlier this month, Representative Grace Napolitano (Los Angeles County) introduced an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill to limit the scope of the FAA ruling so that state or local taxes that are not specific to aviation fuel are excluded.

This would re-establish Congressional intent and 29 years of federal interpretation that state and local sales tax measures of general application are not the same as aviation fuel excise taxes and that states and localities should be able to use those revenues as they so desire. The amendment could be considered as early as Thursday, February 11, while a floor vote may be several more weeks away.

If the current FAA decision stands, state and local agencies will have to provide all sales tax revenue generated by jet fuel sales to aviation related purposes beginning in 2017 or face penalties that include jeopardized eligibility for regional airport federal aviation grants.

Broadband Grants Available Through Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Telecommunications Program is now accepting applications for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. The program helps rural communities use telecommunication tools to connect and overcome the issues like remote location or low population density. This program is specifically focused on using technology to improve education and telemedicine – two critical elements for economic and community development. Grants may be used to purchase capital assets like telecommunication equipment, instructional programming, or technical assistance and instructions for eligible equipment.

Grants are awarded competitively with a due date of March 14, 2016, and awards can range from $50,000 to $500,000 with a 15 percent match requirement. Counties may find more information on the USDA Rural Development website here.