Governor rejects redevelopment replacement, approves related measure

By Allen Young : bizjournal – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown nixed a proposal on Monday that would have breathed new life into the abolished redevelopment agencies by creating authorities capable of financing community-supported infrastructure projects.

But the governor also signed legislation that reforms an economic development tool known as infrastructure financing districts, which are similar to the former redevelopment agencies in that they use property-tax growth to fund infrastructure.

The difference, however, is that infrastructure financing requires a public vote, which local governments say have historically undermined its viability. The new law lowers the needed voter approval to 55 percent from the current two-thirds threshold.

In a veto message for Assembly Bill 2280, which would have established “community revitalization and investment authorities,” Brown said the proposal for was well intended but “unnecessarily vests this new program in redevelopment law.” The governor pledged to find a better solution with author Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a Salinas Democrat.
Infrastructure financing districts rely on tax-increment financing, a system that directs increases in property-tax revenue to finance building projects. The districts only can receive about half of the funds that were accessible to redevelopment agencies because they cannot siphon away revenues that would otherwise go to schools…

Sen. Jim Beall, a San Jose Democrat who authored Senate Bill 628, said infrastructure financing is an improvement over the redevelopment program because the voter requirement and other transparency provisions protects against abuse of tax dollars.
“I think a public vetting washes out all the flaky projects,” he said.

On Monday, the governor also signed Senate Bill 614, a related measure that allows for tax-increment financing to be used to repair infrastructure in some low-income areas when the effort is done in conjunction with an annexation plan… (more)

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