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Cities ask state's top court to block raid on redevelopment funds

July 18, 2011 |  3:31 pm

Photo: Governor Jerry Brown. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times A group representing Los Angeles and other cities asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to invalidate action by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature that will dissolve redevelopment agencies in California unless they pay the state $1.7 billion.

A lawsuit filed by the League of California Cities as well as the California Redevelopment Assn. alleges that the state action violated a ballot measure approved by voters in November that prohibits the state from raiding local tax revenue.

“California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 22 just eight months ago to stop state raids, shifts and diversions of local redevelopment funds,” said Chris McKenzie, executive director of League of California Cities. “The governor and legislature have blatantly ignored the voters and violated the state Constitution. We must now go to the Supreme Court to uphold the voters’ will and the Constitution by overturning this unconstitutional legislation."

INTERACTIVE: How is your redevelopment agency spending money?

The lawsuit also requests the state's highest court to issue a stay to prevent the legislation from going into effect until the court rules on the merits of the legal challenge.

The budget approved by the governor June 30 threatens to dissolve redevelopment agencies that use property taxes to improve blighted neighborhoods. The state agreed to allow new redevelopment programs to be created if the existing ones provide $1.7 billion in local tax revenue to the state by January.

The legislation would require the Los Angeles redevelopment agency to pay about $70 million at the start of the year and then pay about $38 million annually or be faced with having to dissolve the agency and end its work.

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-- Patrick McGreevy

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Robert Gauthier /Los Angeles Times

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