By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Jul. 4, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Redevelopment is dead in California, or so we were told last year when the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown erased more than 400 local agencies and seized assets for the state budget.
The dissolution is incomplete, however, as local officials attempt to shelter assets and joust with local oversight boards and state officials over what’s in and what’s out.
The state has collected less redevelopment money than anticipated, and the 2012-13 budget package includes even more asset seizure power.
Meanwhile, while they dismantle local redevelopment agencies, legislators are dreaming up new entities with many of the same powers, or even more. Several would expand “infrastructure financing districts” into virtual clones of redevelopment agencies.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s Assembly Bill 2259, for instance, would expand a district that was created just last year to build facilities on San Francisco’s waterfront for America’s Cup sailing yacht races. The new district could borrow money and divert property taxes for longer periods and would not have to gain voter approval, as the ordinary districts do.
By diverting property taxes from the city’s schools, the America’s Cup district would force the state to spend more on those schools, a syndrome that redevelopment’s demise was supposed to stop.
“Why should the state general fund subsidize the America’s Cup IFD bonds?” an analysis of the bill by the Senate Governance and Revenue Committee staff asks.
Why indeed? The committee approved the bill on a 6-0 Tuesday.
One day earlier, the Assembly Local Government Committee passed an even more ambitious revival by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Senate Bill 1156 would allow cities and counties, separately or together, to create “Sustainable Communities Investment Authorities” with the powers of the old redevelopment agencies.
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