Audit Rips CA Redevelopment Agencies

California Controller John Chiang, an independent, elected officer, audited 18 of the state's 425 redevelopment agencies (representing 16% of all RDA dollars) and found huge differences in how blight is defined and a lack of accountability.

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal calls for shutting down all redevelopment agencies (RDAs) in order to save the state $1.7 billion. The budget deficit is project to exceed $26 billion. Chiang ordered the audit to investigate claims by cities who have vigorously defended their RDAs as vital to fighting blight, creating jobs, and building affordable housing.

From the Los Angeles Times:
"Chiang's report, adding fuel to the argument that redevelopment agencies are sucking up precious funds with little to show for their efforts, was immediately condemned by redevelopment advocates as politically motivated. A furious battle is playing out between the state and cities over the governor's proposal to scrap redevelopment entirely."

From Contra Costa Times: California redevelopment agencies blasted in state review: The report showed a "failing to pay about $33 million they owe to the state's public schools, and poorly tracking the number of jobs that redevelopment creates."

From AP (via SF Examiner): State review faults Calif. redevelopment agencies: Controller John Chiang called the RDAs "a breeding ground for waste, abuse, and impropriety."

"For a government activity which consumers more than $5.5 billion of public resources annually, we should be troubled that there are no objective performance measures demonstrating that taxpayers are receiving optimal return for each dollar invested," Chiang said in a statement.

From Orange County Register: Redevelopment agencies: Not accountable, controller says: Chiang's report noted the wide definitions of 'blight'.

"In Palm Desert, redevelopment dollars are being used to renovate greens and bunkers at a 4.5 star golf resort."

Thanks to The Roundup

Full Story: Controller reports redevelopment agency failings

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