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Legislation to Boost Funding for Local and State Fairs

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Sonora, CA — Mother Lode Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil is aiming to support community traditions and economic growth by boosting funding for local and state fairs.

The network of California fairs is composed of district agricultural associations (DAA), which rely on horse racing licensing fees for funding. In response to a dwindling state budget, AB 1499 was passed in 2017, directing the governor’s budget to allocate three-quarters of a percent of gross sales made on fairgrounds to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). It would then transfer the generated revenue to the Fairs and Exposition Fund. Alvarado-Gil introduced SB 1261 to increase funding for local and state fairs in California.

“By increasing the percentage of CDFA’s budget that is allocated to fairs, SB 1261 will directly support the essential funding required for operational necessities and address critical issues like deferred maintenance and emergency preparedness within our fairs,” said Senator Alvarado-Gil.

Fairgrounds also provide a centralized location for the State Office of Emergency Services, ensuring safety during natural disasters and emergencies. By capping the cost of administering the allocation of these funds to fairs, SB 1261 would ensure those costs would not reduce the amount of sales tax revenue intended for DAAs.

“California’s fairgrounds operate year-round, and we are consistently called upon to assist our federal, state and local governments when disaster hits. Every time, we answer the call. SB 1261 would provide a stable funding source to ensure our fairgrounds continue to serve our first responders when our communities need them the most,” said Michele Richards, Chair of the California Fairs Alliance.

The bill will now be referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee for review.

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