A proposed Fair Sustainability Act, drafted by State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), promises to help fairgrounds across California save money, preserve jobs, and have the flexibility to operate more efficiently.
Cannella has received unanimous bipartisan support for the new legislation, created to help reduce costs for California’s 52 District Agricultural Associations, which operate the state's fairs.
“California’s fairs are an important part of our state’s history and culture. California’s fair network has a tremendous positive impact on local communities and many fairs are struggling in the absence of state funding,” Cannella said. “The Fairs Sustainability Act relieves the statutory burdens on the fairs and allows greater flexibility in finding way to increase revenue.”
Providing over 25,000 full-time jobs, California’s DAAs create approximately $855 million in annual income for California workers and $126 million in annual local and state revenues. State General Fund support for fairs was completely eliminated in 2011 as part of a package of cuts in response to California’s economic crisis.
“Our typical member fair has three to five permanent employees and generates over 90 percent of their own income,” said California Fair Alliance Chair and Nevada County Fair CEO Sandy Woods. “SB 741 will allow the DAAs to be more efficient and entrepreneurial, and we are very appreciative of Sen. Cannella’s leadership, as well as his co-authors.”
Canella chaired an informational hearing to examine the financial status and economic benefit of California fairs, leading to the development of the Fair Sustainability Act.
The bill would allow fairs to use horse racing revenue for fair operations, replace annual audits of fairs with triennial audits, reduce the amount spent on oversight and administration, and make other changes to how funds are allocated and may be expended at the state level.
The bill was recently approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee and referred to the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, where it remains.
To learn more about Cannella, visit www.district12.cssrc.us.