Senate leader says no to extension of redevelopment agencies
Despite stepped-up pressure from redevelopment agencies, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said Thursday he does not foresee the Legislature extending the deadline for those agencies to begin shutting down.
"It's not going to happen," Steinberg said of the chances of SB 659, the extension bill, being approved by Feb. 1, when agencies throughout the state must start shutting down.
The bill by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) would extend the deadline for agencies to begin dissolution to April 15.
On Thursday, the League of California Cities and other groups sent a letter to legislators noting that one ratings agency has downgraded redevelopment bonds, and two other agencies have put them on watch for a possible downgrade.
The extension in the Padilla bill is needed "to provide some breathing room to try and address many of the legal and contractual issues" raised by the forced closing of the agencies, said Bismarck Obando, a spokesman for the league.
But Steinberg said it's highly unlikely the Legislature would approve the measure in time or that Gov. Jerry Brown would sign it.
"The focus needs to be on re-creating a new set of economic development tools for cities and not on trying to keep alive the current form," he said.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: State Sen. Alex Padilla, left, and Sen. Darrell Steinberg discuss the state budget in 2011. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press