Assemblymember Garcia wants green money allocated to ag

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SACRAMENTO, CA — Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) is spearheading a bipartisan effort to ensure agricultural investments are included in the 2017-2018 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Expenditure Plan, according to a press release from his office.

The Legislature is currently considering how to best allocate cap-and-trade auction revenues for discretionary programs. Over the last few weeks, Garcia has been soliciting input from critical stakeholders within his district, read his release. Agriculture is among the top of this list.

“Agriculture is a critical part of California’s economy; employing more than 400,000 people. The areas I represent in the Imperial Valley, Coachella Valley and Blythe are predominantly driven by the agricultural industry and would greatly benefit from additional state resources.” stated Assemblymember Garcia in his release.

Last week, Assemblymember Garcia submitted a letter to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 Chairman, Richard Bloom outlining requests for following agricultural resources to receive funding prioritization: 

·                     Food processors

·                     Agricultural harvesting equipment

·                     Heavy duty trucks

·                     Agricultural pump engines

·                     Tractors and ag equipment

·                     Dairy bio gas to heavy duty transportation projects

·                     Renewable energy projects

·                     Dairy digester research and development program

·                     Alternative manure management

The Assemblymember went on to explain in the release, “Now that our work with AB 398 has successfully renewed cap-and-trade, we must focus our attention to ensure that these climate investments make their way into the programs where they would stimulate the most positive statewide impacts. We can do just that by prioritizing these greenhouse gas reduction funds into resources for agriculture, one of our region’s most dynamic industries and largest employers.”

“This funding mechanism has the potential to truly transform rural areas such as Imperial County, where in addition to being environmentally underserved they currently hold the state’s highest percentage of unemployment.”

Garcia’s concerns are shared by many of his colleagues, read the release, including those from across party lines and various corners of the state. This letter also contained the signatures of the following Assemblymembers; Joaquin Arambula (D- Kingsburg), Anna Caballero (D- Salinas), Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), Devon Mathis (R- Visalia), Chad Mayes (R- Yucca Valley), Jordan Cunningham (R- Templeton), Jim Frazier (D-Oakley), Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), Rudy Salas (D- Bakersfield), Susan Eggman (D- Stockton), Heath Flora (R- Ripon), Tim Grayson (D- Concord ) and Catharine Baker (R- Dublin).     

This year, Garcia has championed several measures to support California agriculture as an economic driver and empower socially disadvantaged farmers, the release said. Chief among these legislative initiatives is AB 822, Institutional purchasers: sale of California produce. “AB 822 seeks to alleviate challenges Californian farmers and ranchers face competing against out-of-state products,” said Garcia.  “I am excited that this bill and many of our other agricultural initiatives have received legislative success and await the Governor’s signature.”

“As legislators, it is our responsibility, to mitigate potential economic hazards, such as risks posed by current immigration unease. Agriculture is fueled by a steady immigrant workforce. We must work together to protect our Californian farmer’s capacities to produce and employ.” reflected Garcia in concluding thoughts in the release.