Cities hoping for extra life for redevelopment agencies are told to focus on a future without them as a Feb. 1 deadline nears


Published: 26 January 2012 09:04 PM

SACRAMENTO — Legislation to extend the life of redevelopment agencies beyond Feb. 1 seemed all but dead Thursday despite a last-ditch push by local officials and other groups.

The California Supreme Court last month upheld a state law ending redevelopment, which for decades has helped local governments pay to revitalize downtowns and build new streets and also been criticized as a taxpayer subsidy for politically connected developers. Inland Southern California has some of the most active agencies in the state.

On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said a Senate measure, SB 659, to push back the deadline until April 15 is “not going to happen.” A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, had a similar assessment.

Local governments need to look forward instead of focusing on legislation to postpone next week’s deadline, said Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

“I’m skeptical. I think the speaker’s skeptical,” he said. ”And the governor is dead-set against the bill.”

Brown has said the agencies’ dissolution should go forward. “I don’t think we can delay this funeral,” the governor said last week in Los Angeles.

Under redevelopment, agencies collect a share of the growth of property taxes in redevelopment areas. That money, known as the tax increment, pays for land purchases, low-income housing and other projects.

Brown proposed eliminating the agencies in his January 2011 budget. Lawmakers ultimately approved a two-bill package that dissolved the agencies but allowed them to re-establish if they paid more money to the state. Cities and redevelopment agencies sued, leading to last month’s decision to uphold the law dissolving the agencies while striking down the lifeline bill that would have allowed them to continue.

Many cities and counties already have shut down their redevelopment offices and taken on the role as successor agencies to start dealing with debt and assets.

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