[Assemblyman Cameron Smyth] – Friday evening, state lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 1098, which restores allocations of vehicle license fees (VLF) to recently incorporated cities and cities which annexed inhabited areas. AB 1098 was a continuation of Senate Bill 1566, which was co-authored by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita), who chairs the Assembly Committee on Local Government.
“It was important for us to find a way to help local governments who relied on that revenue,” said Smyth. “There are several new cities that have recently incorporated in California, and those VLF funds are critical to getting a city up and running. Additionally, AB 1098 was a good bill for my district, as Santa Clarita will see about $300,000 in VLF funds that had been stolen and earmarked for other programs.”
Last year, Gov. Brown signed a last-minute budget trailer bill that eliminated $130 million in city VLF general fund revenues. The state’s newest cities, along with cities that have recently annexed inhabited areas, had relied on that money when making the decision to incorporate or annex a particular territory. AB 1098 restores that funding, consistent with the allocation formula those communities used in making their decisions.
“I understand that times are tight and that there are plenty of state programs that could use some extra money,” said Smyth, “but stripping those funds from local governments is the wrong way to make up the difference. Cities are relying on those funds to pay for their police and fire services, along with other vital programs. If local governments are expected to deliver more services, we have to make sure that they have the resources to do so. Anything less is just setting them up to fail.”
AB 1098 passed the Senate 35-0 and the Assembly 57-7, and has been sent to the Governor’s desk to await further action.
Assemblyman Cameron Smyth is Chairman of the Assembly Local Government Committee, and represents the 38th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and Glendale.