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California Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Redevelopment 2.0

LOS ANGELES — California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed several bills designed to restore some of the tools of the state’s mothballed redevelopment agencies.

Among the vetoed bills was Senate Bill 1156, also known as Redevelopment 2.0, which would have created an economic development tool to replace redevelopment funding lost in the dissolution by allowing municipalities to create joint power authorities to finance projects within sustainable community investment areas.

Brown had until midnight Sunday to act on bills passed by state legislators during the 2012 session.

Some cities have claimed state legislation passed in 2011 that dissolved the state’s 400-plus RDAs caused them fiscal distress.

Sen. President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, who authored SB 1156, compared the bill’s failure to initial efforts on SB 375, legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through transportation and land-use planning that was eventually signed into law in 2008.

“The landmark SB 375 took more than one year to become law,” Steinberg said. “So it seems it will be the same for recreating vital tools to fund smart local economic development.”

He said he plans to reintroduce SB 1156 as his first bill in December.

Brown also vetoed Assembly Bill 2144, another measure meant to replace redevelopment by renaming infrastructure financing districts to “infrastructure and revitalization financing districts” and lowering the voter approval threshold to create them from two-thirds to 55%. A similar bill, SB 214, which would have eliminated the voter requirement entirely for creating IFDs, also got the governor’s ax.

In a letter to state Assembly members, Brown said that expanding the scope of infrastructure financing districts is premature, because it would cause cities to focus on using the new tools instead of winding down redevelopment. 

“This would prevent the state from achieving the general fund savings assumed in this year’s budget,” Brown said.

Brown did, however, sign two bills that provide funding for low-income housing to replace that aspect of the former RDAs, which were required to use part of their revenue to finance affordable housing.

The Democratic governor signed AB 1951, a bill that realigns $30 million of funding generated from Prop 1C, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund bond act of 2006, for the construction, preservation and rehabilitation of low-income rental housing, and AB 1585, which reappropriates $50 million of bond revenues to the Department of Housing and Community Development from Prop 1C money.

The League of California Cities joined Vallejo and its successor agency to file a lawsuit on Sept. 24 challenging the constitutionality of portions of AB 1484, a law passed in June to clarify the process for dissolving the old RDAs.

The lawsuit contends that AB 1484 contains unconstitutional property and sales-tax claw-back. A hearing has not been scheduled for the lawsuit, which will be heard by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney.

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