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Tuesday, 14 June 2016 19:08

Funding Bill for California Fairs Passes Through State Assembly

Written by  Eric Escalante
State Assemblymember Adam Gray of District 21 announced that his bill regarding the ongoing funding of State Fairs has passed through the Assembly overwhelmingly. State Assemblymember Adam Gray of District 21 announced that his bill regarding the ongoing funding of State Fairs has passed through the Assembly overwhelmingly. Assemblymember Adam Gray Facebook
The California State Senate will now be considering a bill regarding the ongoing funding of California’s network of Fairs after the bill passed overwhelmingly in the State Assembly.

The bill was introduced by State Assemblymember Adam Gray (D) of District 21, which covers Merced County and portions of Stanislaus County. Assembly Bill 2768 would stand to generate $14 to 16 million in annual funding for reinvestment into California’s 77 fairs.

According a letter addressed to Adam Gray from Senior Legislative Advocate Paul A. Smith of the Rural County Representatives of California, prior to the most recent fiscal years state fairs received approximately $30 million in financial assistance from the State. However, due to the recent lack of funding, many fairs and fairgrounds “are on the brink of elimination.”

“Fairs have struggled to stay open since the state eliminated funding during the fiscal crisis,” said Assemblymember Gray.

Currently, the law establishes the Fair and Exposition Fund to allocate moneys for the support of California fairs. The moneys in the fund “are continuously appropriated for capital outlay for specified fair projects.”

According to AB 2768, Assemblymember Gray’s bill would require that 30 percent of all revenues derived from “those segregated sales and use tax amounts” be deposited into the Fair and Exposition Fund instead of the General Fund, and “continuously appropriated for allocation by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture for specified fair projects.”

On Jan. 1, 2022, the bill would repeal these provisions.

“This legislation ensures that a portion of the sales taxes generated by the fairs themselves are reinvested to keep these valuable assets open and thriving,” stated Assemblymember Gray.

“In Merced and Stanislaus County, we know just how important the fairgrounds are to the communities they serve. They are economic engines, creating jobs, attracting investments, and serving as a place for the community stage agricultural, educational, and charitable events. They are far too valuable for our state to continue to ignore their struggles.”

The vote for the bill saw it pass with 75 ayes, 2 nayes, and 3 votes not recorded in the State Assembly. With the bill passing overwhelmingly, it will now go through the State Senate for consideration.
 

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