Senator Caballero Announces the Passage of The California Community and Neighborhood Tree Fund, Signed By Governor Newsom

July 16, 2021

 

Sacramento: Senator Anna M. Caballero (D-Salinas) is pleased to announce that the first of her bills to pass through the legislature and to be signed by Governor Newsom, is SB 347 The California Community and Neighborhood Tree Fund. SB 347 creates a voluntary contribution on the state income tax to help provide a consistent source of funding to CalFire’s Urban and Community Forestry program, with a special focus on small, urbanized communities that struggle with the long-term care and maintenance costs of tree planting programs.

Disadvantaged and low-income communities and county unincorporated areas have less canopy cover than other communities due to the cost of tree planting and tree care. These communities struggle to fund and maintain urban forest programs, leading to an inequitable distribution of environmental benefits, as they suffer from greater urban heat island effects and worse air pollution. SB 347 seeks voluntary contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations to deliver a consistent baseline investment in the program.

“SB 347 gives all of us an opportunity to give directly to a fund that will plant trees in communities most in need. Every dollar donated invests into neighborhoods where memories can be created and more positive health outcomes will be felt for decades to come.” said Senator Caballero, “I would like to thank the bill sponsors and partners for working so hard to make this bill a reality, and for their love and care for our environment. I would also like to thank Governor Newsom for signing SB 347 so quickly. I am ready to plant some trees!”

“As the populations in California’s towns and cities grows, and climate change impacts quality of life issues through drought and increased urban heat issues, the need for sustainable urban forestry grows. Trees provide a number of vital benefits, including a myriad of environmental services, as well as addressing documented public health outcomes and improved economic opportunities - making all of our lives better.” said Nancy Hughes, Executive Director of California Urban Forests Council, “What Senator Caballero says cannot be overstated – ‘Disadvantaged and low-income communities, and county unincorporated areas have less canopy cover than other communities due to the cost of tree care, and the inability to manage trees as civic infrastructure. These communities struggle to fund and maintain urban forestry programs, leading to an inequitable distribution of environmental benefits and suffer from greater urban heat island effects and worse air pollution.’ We look forward to supporting the success of this funding vehicle and the important outcomes it will provide for CA’s communities.”

“The California Community and Neighborhood Tree Fund will provide a modest, yet reliable, source of funding for tree planting programs, like CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry program. San Joaquin Valley residents routinely swelter in the summer heat, while also breathing in poor quality air, both conditions which can be improved with the expansion of the Valley’s tree canopy.” said Mona Cummings, CEO of Tree Fresno. “Trees protect us from the sun, filter out harmful air and water pollutants and contribute to better mental and physical health. This Act will enable Tree Fresno to plant and irrigate more trees throughout “severely under-treed” neighborhoods, leading to conditions of increased Tree Equity.”

“I would like to thank all partners that made SB 347 possible.” said Coalinga City Councilmember, Manny Ramirez. “Thank you, Senator Caballero for also including my community, the city of Coalinga. I am happy that there is so much citizen-strength in tree planting, because with our hot summer weather, we need it. Trees can and do make a difference.”

"This is a great move for climate resiliency to cool our communities while we sequestor carbon and beautify our neighborhoods.” said Huron Mayor, Rey Leon. “Thank you, Senator Caballero for your efforts to plant trees where they are desperately needed."

 

For interviews or inquiries, please contact Elisa Rivera at (209) 726-5495

Senator Anna M. Caballero represents the 12th Senate District, composed of the Salinas Valley, Merced and San Benito Counties, and portions of Fresno, Madera and Stanislaus Counties.

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