League of California Cities logoThe League of California Cities — along with a broad group of coalition partners —  sent a letter today calling on the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom to honor the $345 million allocated for organic waste recycling grants in recent state budgets. Securing that funding was a major priority for Cal Cities in 2021 and 2022.

Earlier this year, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) warned that although the Governor’s January budget revenue estimates were reasonable, they were “likely a bit too high.” The LAO proposed several budget cuts to cover the greater-than-anticipated budget shortfall, including by reducing SB 1383 (Lara, 2016) implementation grants and organic waste infrastructure grants.

The proposed clawback comes amid stagnating state revenues, stubbornly high inflation, and a high-profile bank run in Silicon Valley. Local governments are essential to the strength of California’s economy. Cal Cities opposes any action that would reduce or eliminate funding for cities or divert essential local revenue sources.

The proposed cuts would hinder cities’ ability to meet their SB 1383 requirements. SB 1383 calls for a dramatic reduction in the amount of food, yard, and other organic waste that is thrown away to reduce methane, a climate super polluter.

Implementing these regulations requires a significant transformation to how organic waste is managed and processed in the state. The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) estimates that implementation will cost local governments $20 billion to implement over 10 years.

This law needs state funding to succeed. Historically, state-level investment in CalRecycle’s organic waste recycling program has been severely underfunded and oversubscribed, despite it becoming a cost-effective cornerstone of the state’s climate change mitigation strategy.

If properly funded, SB 1383 would reduce methane emissions, improve air quality, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tons annually. It would also create $17 billion in economic benefits and 11,700 permanent new jobs.

According to a CalRecycle estimate, California needs 50-100 new and upgraded organic waste recycling facilities to manage and recycle the organic waste expected under SB 1383. Without this funding, local governments and ratepayers will bear the brunt of these costs, and the state risks losing several projects already in the development pipeline.

For more information, please contact Cal Cities Legislative Affairs Lobbyist Nick Romo.