CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Nov. 12, 2022) — In Sacramento over the last year or so, we’ve been able to progress forward from focusing only on immediate, pandemic-related policies to legislation that can address some of our state’s underlying challenges and long-term goals.
This year, I was proud to secure money in the state’s budget and pass pragmatic legislation to work toward some of those long-term goals.
First, I led efforts to secure $350 million to help fund construction of new, affordable homes and support existing down payment assistance programs for first-time homebuyers. The sad fact is that it’s both too expensive to live in California and too expensive to build more housing here – and we have to find ways to reverse this reality. The rising costs of housing has effectively barred a generation of Californians from one of the most reliable forms of wealth generation available: owning a home.
I don’t know what all the answers are, but I’ve been determined to author common-sense legislation to move the needle on the issue, including bills to reduce fees on new housing development, streamline our affordable housing funding system, and bring transparency and reform to the permitting process. As long as the cost of living continues to rise here and across the state, I’m going to keep searching for more sensible solutions.
This year, I also secured $5 million for the Green Empowerment Zone for the northern waterfront area of Contra Costa County. Last year, I authored a bill to create the Green Empowerment Zone in statute, and with this budget money, we can now establish it.
Essentially, this zone will allow our community to build upon state and regional partnerships to prioritize access to tax incentives, grants, loan programs, workforce training programs, and private sector investment in the clean and green economy sector. As we transition to clean fuels and high-tech energy, it is a matter of equity and economic justice that we support the growth of high-paying jobs and industries to replace those that are being phased out.
The green economy presents us the opportunity to not only protect our planet, but to also empower workers by investing in their training and education. The Green Empowerment Zone will help Contra Costa levy shared resources to attract investments to support jobs and workers in our community.
I’m very focused on how we can deliver a win for jobs and our economy. I was incredibly disappointed that Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed my bill, AB 1951, which would have created a sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing equipment purchases – an exemption that already exists in 38 other states.
California is behind the ball on attracting new investments and keeping businesses in our state. Over the last two years, California attracted less than 1% of the country’s manufacturing investments. It’s unacceptable.
Manufacturing makes up 11% of California’s GDP, and for each manufacturing job held by a Californian, 2.5 other jobs are supported. This measure would have made California competitive with more business-friendly states, and I will fight again next year for a way to revitalize our economy.
In total, I was the lead author on 13 new laws and four resolutions this year. I secured millions in funding for organizations supporting our community, such as Special Olympics Northern & Southern California, East Bay Regional Parks District and the Feet First Foundation.
If you’d like to learn more about my work or share your thoughts on matters important to you, please contact my Concord office at 925-521-1511.