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REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES

Posted by xaviervir on June 22, 2011

From today’s West County Times:

Redevelopment agencies in limbo as California budget battle continues

Association says it will sue state if bills killing agencies are approved
By Sean Maher
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 06/21/2011 05:05:47 PM PDT
Updated: 06/22/2011 05:55:44 AM PDT

Redevelopment agencies across the state remain in suspense this week, their future in jeopardy as lawmakers in Sacramento move toward using money aimed at local revitalization as a partial solution to the state debt and to fund schools.

The state Senate and Assembly passed two bills June 15: The first would eliminate redevelopment agencies — there are about 400 statewide — as soon as Oct. 1. The second would allow the agencies to remain as long as they pay a share of the $1.7 billion the state would save if they were eliminated entirely.

The contributions range wildly in size across the state. Berkeley would have to pay about $400,000, while Los Angeles’ share would be almost $100 million.

Most East Bay cities would face payments between $4 million and $13 million. Those include Fremont at $9 million; Hayward at $4 million; Concord at $6.2 million, Alameda at $5.2 million; Emeryville at $13.2 million; and Richmond at $10.4 million.

In Oakland, that share is estimated at almost $40 million, a massive hit as the city tries to close a $56 million deficit already expected to decimate several public services.

Those estimates were put together in the past few days by the California Redevelopment Association, which says the bills are illegal.

“We believe the bills are unconstitutional,” said John Shirey, the association’s executive director. He said the association will sue the state if Brown signs the bills, on the grounds



that they “are violating those sections of the constitution put there last November in Prop. 22. It may not be our only point in our action, but voters said loudly, by 62 percent of the vote, they don’t want state government taking local funds.”Redevelopment is designed to help cities eliminate blight and revitalize struggling, economically depressed areas by reinvesting local property tax revenues that would otherwise be shared with counties, cities and schools.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has criticized the campaign to end redevelopment as pitting one cause against another — several efforts to save redevelopment have offered compromises and reforms such as agency contributions to local schools.

The bills came as a surprise to those who felt those collaborative efforts had been making headway.

They were connected to a budget package Gov. Jerry Brown almost immediately vetoed, though those two bills haven’t yet reached his desk. Leaders in the Assembly are believed to be holding onto the bills until it becomes clear whether Brown’s veto of the budget means he can legally weigh in on the secondary bills attached to it.

“This doesn’t happen very often. It was around the turn of the century the last time a governor vetoed a budget,” Shirey said, so lawyers will likely spend some more time coming up with an answer this week as to whether the Assembly can legally send the bills to Brown’s office.

An answer is expected by the end of this week, but it’s unclear what Brown will do if the bills get to him.

Brown’s office has a standing policy of not commenting on legislation before it reaches his desk.

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One Response to “REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES”

  1. Dennis O'Rorke said

    California Taxpayers have not been given the “right” to vote on redevelopment. Redevelopment is simply a mechanism for politicians to reward their contributors in the development community. Return our tax money to local services.

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