By Christy Smith
At the core of good governance is efficiency and collaboration. What I’ve found during my years in public service is that elected officials across all levels of government sometimes operate in silos. We deliver for our communities and produce meaningful work, but think of what we can accomplish if we put our heads together and partner on problem solving.
This idea is the backbone behind my joint-authorship of Assembly Bill 213 with my colleague and friend Assemblywoman Eloise Gómez Reyes. This bill would revise the formula for allocating vehicle license fee (VLF) amounts to restore revenues to cities that have annexed developed areas like Santa Clarita. In 2011, funds were stripped away from cities across California following the passage of Senate Bill 89. The city of Santa Clarita lost approximately $390,000 in VLF revenues as a result of this bill.
AB 213 would fix the formula, returning tax dollars to cities and restoring taxpayer resources. In addition, this bill would aid Santa Clarita’s strategic planning as the city continues to expand and better facilitate the needs of our community members.
We often tout California as the fifth largest economy in the world, but this means nothing if our local economies cannot tap into our vast, statewide resources — especially when our cities were entitled to these resources in the first place. In Santa Clarita alone, AB 213 would restore over $440,000 in funding annually. This goes straight back to our city and will allow us to serve all residents and prioritize projects we all want, like infrastructure repair and development.
It was important to me as your representative to move this bill forward and for the city of Santa Clarita to have a seat at the table. That’s why it was my distinct pleasure to welcome Councilman Bob Kellar to Sacramento to testify in support of AB 213 last Wednesday. During the hearing in the Assembly Committee on Local Government, Councilman Kellar encouraged committee members to vote in favor of the legislation, citing AB 213’s fiscal merit and vast opportunity to improve the lives of our community.
I’m happy to report AB 213 received unanimous support from committee members, and is now heading to the Appropriations Committee to evaluate its positive fiscal impact. This could not have happened without the collaboration between the city and state; first with Assemblywoman Reyes’ introduction and rounded out by Councilman Kellar’s testimony. Our partnership demonstrated that when all levels of government work together we can represent the best interests of our communities. When there’s buy-in and return on investment from everyone, we all win.
AB 213 is powered by thoughtfulness and diligence. It is a privilege and honor to serve the city of Santa Clarita and the community members in the 38th Assembly District. I promise to continue to be your best advocate in Sacramento, championing district-minded representation in our State Capitol and bringing resources back home.
Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, represents the 38th State Assembly District, which includes the communities of Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Agua Dulce, Castaic, Santa Susana Knolls and North San Fernando Valley.