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Jerry Brown to big-city mayors: Redevelopment 'money is not there'

As California’s big-city mayors rallied in Sacramento to save their redevelopment agencies from the fiscal chopping block, Gov. Jerry Brown pushed back Wednesday with a simple and direct message: “The money’s not there.”

Striking a strident tone in an afternoon press conference, Brown called the redevelopment agencies a “piggy bank” that the state needs to crack open to fund education and local services as California grapples with a $25-billion deficit. He said shutting down the state’s nearly 400 municipal redevelopment agencies is a crucial part of his budget proposal and will save $1.7 billion.

Cities across the state have angrily denounced the idea as they rush to squirrel away redevelopment dollars in ways that would shield the funds from any state raids.

Brown challenged the mayors to find alternative spending cuts if they want to keep redevelopment alive. “My message is: If not you, who?” Brown said.

He said the mayoral delegation was part of the coming wave of discontent with his budget, which he says is comprised of $12.5 billion in cuts and $12 billion in tax extensions.

“The hallways are going to be crowded in the coming months with people who say, ‘Please keep the money coming.’ And my message is, ‘The money is not there,’” Brown said. “The taxes don’t produce as much money as people in recent years expected. We’ve got to retrench, cut back and if we do, if we take the budget that I presented, California will be in balance.”

--Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento

 
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