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California Senate preserves redevelopment money for housing

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The day before local redevelopment programs begin shutting down, state lawmakers acted Tuesday to allow cities and counties to build affordable housing using $1.36 billion held for that purpose by agencies that are closing.

The state Senate approved SB 654 and sent it to the Assembly, but Republicans refused to support passing it as an urgency measure, so it will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2013.

"We are delaying the creation of and/or maintenance of some 24,000 high-wage jobs for Californians," complained Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) when Republicans insisted on voting for it only as a non-urgency measure.

"The time to be concerned about jobs related to redevelopment was before we executed it," responded Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar, referring to the Legislature’s decision last year to close agencies as part of a state budget solution.

Republicans blocked the bill from taking effect immediately after Democrats shelved a package of last-minute amendments the GOP proposed for redevelopment agencies to make it easier to phase out their operations without financial difficulties.

Steinberg said that if the bill is next approved by the state Assembly, he may insert its language into a trailer bill on the budget so it can still take effect immediately.

RELATED:

Getting real about redevelopment in California

Legislators seek to help cities losing redevelopment agencies

Senate leader says no to extension of redevelopment agencies 

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Redevelopment bill author Sen. Darrell Steinberg, right, during last year's budget talks with Republican Sen. Bob Dutton. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli Associated Press

 
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