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Jerry Brown rejects new restrictions on megastores

October 10, 2011 |  1:03 am

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have placed new requirements on developers of large retail outlets like Wal-Mart.

The bill, SB 469 by Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), would have made it harder to open new warehouse-style stores in California. It would have required developers of any supercenter that dedicates at least 10% of its floor space to grocery sales to produce a report on how the store would impact existing businesses, property values and traffic.

In vetoing the measure, Brown said “plenty of laws are already on the books that enable and in some cases require cities and counties to carefully assess whether these projects are in a community’s best interests. This bill would add yet another layer of review to an already cumbersome process.”

The measure passed through the Legislature with no Republican support. The California Retails Assn. warned the bill’s passage would open the door to dozens of lawsuits and slow new development at a time when the economy desperately needs help.

The League of California Cities, whose members rely on the sales-tax revenues generated by these stores, also opposed the bill.

"If we allow the state to dictate what types of retailers will be allowed in our communities, we lose all the power to improve the communities as our communities see fit," said the league’s executive director, Chris McKenzie.

The bill was backed by the California Federation of Labor, which argued large retailers wipe out smaller businesses and better paying jobs in exchange for ones that pay workers a lower wage.

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--Anthony York in Sacramento

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