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AB-2632 Williamson Act: subvention payments: appropriation.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/20/2020 02:00 PM


Assembly Bill
No. 2632

Introduced by Assembly Member Patterson
(Principal coauthor: Senator Dahle)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Fong, Mathis, and Voepel)
(Coauthor: Senator Bates)

February 20, 2020

An act to amend Section 16148 of the Government Code, relating to agricultural land, and making an appropriation therefor.


AB 2632, as introduced, Patterson. Williamson Act: subvention payments: appropriation.
The Williamson Act, also known as the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, authorizes a city or county to enter into contracts with owners of land devoted to agricultural use, whereby the owners agree to continue using the property for that purpose, and the city or county agrees to value the land accordingly for purposes of property taxation. Existing law sets forth procedures for reimbursing cities and counties for property tax revenues not received as a result of these contracts and continuously appropriates General Fund moneys for that purpose.
This bill, for the 2020–21 fiscal year, would appropriate an additional $40,000,000 from the General Fund to the Controller to make subvention payments to counties, as provided, in proportion to the losses incurred by those counties by reason of the reduction of assessed property taxes. The bill would make various findings in this regard.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The preservation of our limited supply of agricultural land helps to protect the state’s economic resources, not only for the maintenance of the agricultural economy of the state but also for the assurance of adequate, healthful, and nutritious food for future residents of this state and nation.
(b) The discouragement of premature and unnecessary conversion of agricultural land to urban uses is a matter of public interest, and benefits to urban residents because it discourages noncontiguous urban development patterns that increase the cost of community services and vehicle miles traveled.
(c) The preservation of agricultural lands as open space is also a public benefit, and agricultural production on such lands constitutes an important physical, social aesthetic, and economic asset to existing and future residents of the state.
(d) The preservation of agricultural land within scenic highway corridors and wildlife habitat areas is also of great value to the state because of its scenic beauty and as habitat for wildlife that contributes to biological diversity.
(e) Recent research has found that an acre of urban land emits 70 times as much greenhouse gases as an acre of irrigated cropland. The Williamson Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 51200) of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 5 of the Government Code) helps keep farmland and open space from being converted to urban use.
(f) The open-space subvention program (Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 16140) of Part 1 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code) is crucial not only to counties’ continued participation in preserving agricultural land, but also to the state’s continued role in overseeing California’s most important land conservation program.

SEC. 2.

 Section 16148 of the Government Code is amended to read:

 Zero dollars ($0) Forty million dollars ($40,000,000) is appropriated for the 2010–11 2020–21 fiscal year from the General Fund to the Controller to make subvention payments to counties pursuant to Section 16140 in proportion to the losses incurred by those counties by reason of the reduction of assessed property taxes.