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California Legislature Considers Reviving Redevelopment

Though Gov. Jerry Brown still appears to be opposed to the idea, both houses of the California Legislature are pondering the possibility of bringing back tax-increment financing in a limited form.
March 11, 2012, 5am PDT | Anonymous
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Even as the redevelopment wind-down process continues, the California Legislature is beginning to play around with possible ways to bring it back in a more limited form. Many of the ideas involve tinkering with tax-increment financing in ways that will hold the state financially harmless. Others would allow cities to keep some or all of their former redevelopment agencies' cash and land assets, which are likely worth several billion dollars.

In a prepared statement at a hearing on Wednesday, Assembly Speaker John Perez said: "It was never the intent of the members of the Assembly to eliminate redevelopment" but rather "to rein in bad practices."

A parade of witnesses at the Assembly hearing proposed a variety of post-redevelopment solutions. Most of the discussions had to do with tax-increment financing, however. As Michael Coleman, a fiscal consultant to the League of California Cities, out it: "TIF has a long history all over the world of being used and used well."

Whatever the Legislature is considering, however, Gov. Jerry Brown has not tipped his hand. So far Brown has shown no willingness to consider reviving redevelopment in any form. The only representative of Brown's office who spoke Wednesday was Pedro Reyes, policy chief at the Department of Finance, who talked about the wind-down process. He said Finance had reassigned 20 auditors to work on post-redevelopment issues and will likely reassign more in the future.

Thanks to Bill Fulton

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Published on Thursday, March 8, 2012 in California Planning & Development Report
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