Major progress made toward top Summit priorities in state budget

150 150 Justin Ewers

With the state budget moving from the Legislature to the governor’s desk this week, it is becoming clear just how much of a boost several of the Summit’s top priorities for 2014 are about to receive—and how broadly the Summit’s regions-based efforts to take on state challenges have begun to resonate in the Capitol.

From investments in workforce training ($50 million for career tech education) and infrastructure (over $1 billion in new funding) to affordable housing and sustainable communities (recipients of more than a third of the state’s nearly $1 billion annual cap-and-trade revenues starting next year), the budget, when it is signed by the governor, will support more than half of the proposals identified in The Summit Plan to Advance Prosperity in 2014.

The Summit’s efforts to bring private, public, and civic champions from across the state together around a shared economic agenda isn’t limited just to the budget, however. In the last few months, the expanding Summit network has made equally great strides in everything from expanding access to capital to developing the manufacturing partnerships the state’s regions need to state competitive.

All of this progress is captured in a new update of the Summit Progress Tracker released today, which details the goals each of the Summit’s seven action teams have set for themselves—and how close they are to reaching them. Some of the highlights—both in and out of the state budget—can be found below:

WORKFORCE Training workers for the new economy

  • Targeted state funding: The 2014-15 state budget includes $50 million for career technical education, acknowledging the high costs of these programs and adopting a new “shared investment” funding model advocated for by the Summit—one that will allocate funds to regions for further distribution, instead of diffusing them among all community colleges. The budget also emphasizes the role these programs play in connecting workforce training with regional industry. Legislation authored by Asm. Al Muratsuchi (ACR 119) urges lawmakers to address the long-term funding needs of these programs; t was passed by the Assembly in May without opposition. Separately, lawmakers also included $250 million in the budget for the Career Pathways Trust, a work-based learning grant program supported by the Summit. 

INFRASTRUCTURE Finding new ways to meet the infrastructure needs of a growing population

  • Increased investment: The 2014-15 state budget directs more than $1 billion toward one of the Summit’s top priorities: closing the state’s massive infrastructure deficit. It includes $497 million for neglected local roads and makes substantial new investments in affordable housing (see Housing update below). The state will also spend over $100 million on drought response, bringing total water emergency spending this year to more than $800 million.
  • Local financing authority: The Summit has also pushed lawmakers to give local governments more authority to take on these same infrastructure challenges, including an expansion of Infrastructure Financing Districts that would support everything from transit to affordable housing. That proposal, supported by the governor, will be voted on later this summer.

HOUSINGMaking housing available and affordable

MANUFACTURING Supporting a source of sustainable, middle-income jobs

  • Promote manufacturing partnerships: In a win for both the Manufacturing and Workforce action teams, a Southern California aerospace consortium supported by the Summit was named one of 12 new “manufacturing communities” by the U.S. Department of Commerce in May—a new federal designation that will make the region’s public/private manufacturing partners eligible for $1.3 billion in federal funds. Several other Summit-supported groups will seek this designation in the next round.

CAPITAL Ensuring capital continues to flow to entrepreneurial activity in every region
& WORKING LANDSCAPES – Leveraging the present and future value of the state’s unparalleled landscapes

REGULATIONS Reducing regulatory uncertainty

  • SOAR Teams: The Regulations team made a presentation to the leaders of the Department of Water Resources and State Water Resources Control Board in April, offering to deploy a Summit team to work with the water agencies on ways to streamline the water transfer process to support communities impacted by the drought. The team also made a similar presentation to legislative staff and the governor’s office.

Justin Ewers

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