State lawmakers consider alternative to redevelopment agencies
Cities being forced to shut down redevelopment programs would be able to sell their agencies’ buildings and other assets to finance new economic development efforts under an idea being considered by state lawmakers.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said Thursday that he is examining the concept of legislation, but would insist on financial reforms. Redevelopment agencies are facing a Feb. 1 deadline to begin dismantling their programs as part of a new state law to solve the state budget crisis.
"This loss for cities can be temporary," Steinberg told reporters. "I believe that there are some real tools with real dollars attached to them that can be used to reconstitute a robust local economic development program for cities and counties."
There are potentially billions of dollars in assets owned by California’s 400 redevelopment agencies, according to Jim Kennedy, interim executive director of the California Redevelopment Assn. He said that what Steinberg describes is similar to what the association is considering, although "it sounds a little more limited."
Without legislation, the money from liquidation of leases, parking lots, buildings and other assets of the state’s local redevelopment agencies would be sent to schools, the state, special districts and other local entities, Steinberg said.
--Patrick McGreevy, reporting from Sacramento