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Voters OK with ending redevelopment funds, poll shows

July 21, 2011 |  2:00 pm

Big-city mayors and other local leaders have said that the state’s plan to take funds away from redevelopment agencies will cost jobs and hurt the economy. But those protests don’t appear to be resonating with voters, a new poll shows. 

In a survey by The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Californians are almost evenly divided on whether the state should take the subsidies away, with 42% in favor and 44% opposed.

But support plummets once respondents are given arguments for and against the measure, which is part of the budget package Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law recently. Then they agree, 50% to 39%, with elimination of government subsidies for companies that redevelop blighted areas.

Supporters of the plan say the subsidies have been misused and eliminating them frees $1.7 billion to help balance the budget. Opponents argue that ending the funding will cost thousands of jobs and threaten construction projects that promise to breathe life into the economy and thus revitalize communities.

Redevelopment boosters are now in court trying to block the state from taking the funds.

Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said the poll reflected skepticism that the subsidies created all the employment that supporters claimed.

“The argument in favor of the measure is a more persuasive one” for voters, he said. “They know the governor and Legislature can cut the budget. They are not confident they can create jobs.”

The survey was conducted for The Times and USC Dornsife by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, a Republican company. They polled 1,507 registered California voters July 6–17. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.52 percentage points.

-- Evan Halper in Sacramento

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