Cal Cities to the state: Budget deficit should not slow down investments in cities

Dec 1, 2023

Contact: Karina Gonzalez
(916) 658-8223


Carlsbad — The League of California Cities Board of Directors today adopted the organization’s 2024 Advocacy Priorities, setting the stage for cities to work with the Legislature, the Governor, and other stakeholders during the coming year to ensure strong, economically sound cities.

“Cal Cities has evolved considerably since it was created 125 years ago, but our mission to serve our diverse communities and improve the quality of life for all Californians is still the driving force behind our work,” said League of California Cities President and Fowler Mayor Daniel Parra. “We are unified in our commitment to ensure that our cities not only survive but thrive during economic slowdowns, and that our most vulnerable residents are well-served.”

More than 100 city leaders who serve in leadership positions in Cal Cities participated in meetings over the last month to chart the organization’s priorities for 2024 and ensure they are focused on the issues most critical to cities and the residents they serve.

“While the state grapples with its budget deficit, we cannot let that slow us down from delivering the critical services our residents need and rely on every day,” said Carolyn Coleman, executive director and CEO of the League of California Cities. “We stand ready to work with the state to find real solutions to address the rise in crime, the lack of affordable housing, growing homelessness rates, and climate change. But we will push back on any efforts to raid funding for local programs to make up for the deficit.”

The 2024 Advocacy Priorities are as follows:

  1. Safeguard local revenues and bolster local economic development.
    Cities are the engine of the state economy. With a looming state budget deficit, it is critical to counter efforts by the state and corporations to erode or skim local revenue. Cal Cities supports increasing local revenue streams for local governments and opposes any effort to reduce or eliminate existing funding to cities. Cal Cities will use every tool in the toolbox — legislative, legal, and grassroots mobilization — to fight a 2024 ballot measure that represents an existential threat to local control. The measure, sponsored by the California Business Roundtable, would put at risk billions of dollars for essential local services. Cal Cities also supports legislation that will fund a state-local partnership to enhance economic development in these uncertain fiscal times.
  1. Strengthen climate change resiliency and disaster preparedness.
    The threat of climate change is no less during tough economic times. The state needs to accelerate its efforts to prepare, reduce, and adapt to the ever-changing risks posed by climate change — especially in vulnerable and under-resourced communities. These risks include wildfires, flooding, drought, and other extreme weather events. Cal Cities will pursue funding strategies, including potentially a bond, that provide cities with the necessary resources to improve community and infrastructure resiliency. Cal Cities will also seek to advance a partnership with state and federal agencies to strengthen essential infrastructure, including modernizing the state’s water supply and energy grid.
  1. Improve public safety in California communities.
    A spike in retail theft, violent smash-and-grab robberies, fentanyl deaths and illicit drug use, and back-to-back natural disasters, as well as strained social services are creating challenges beyond the capacity of local governments. Cal Cities will partner with the state to advance solutions that help reduce crime, increase emergency service capacity, and provide more support to those residents struggling with substance abuse. We will work with the Legislature, the Governor, and allies to craft legislation that will reform Proposition 47, while avoiding a return to the days of mass incarceration.
  1. Expand investments to prevent and reduce homelessness and increase the supply of affordable housing.
    California cities are doing more than ever to get residents off the streets and into safe, stable, and affordable housing. However, the homelessness crisis in the world’s fifth-largest economy continues unabated — fueled in part by a lack of affordable housing. Cal Cities is calling on the state to provide ongoing funding to bolster local efforts to support individuals experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness as well as strengthen state and local partnerships to improve access to wraparound services, including mental health and substance use treatment. Cal Cities also supports ongoing funding for cities to jumpstart the construction of affordable housing, while ensuring cities retain local decision-making and flexibility to achieve community and state housing goals.

Cal Cities will begin working immediately to advance this work in the state Capitol.

Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.