The California Redevelopment Association Monday submitted its opening brief for its appeal of a trial court decision upholding the state’s shift of more than $2 billion from local redevelopment agencies to help balance the budget.

The fund shift was adopted with one of the bills used to enact California’s fiscal 2010 budget. Redevelopment agencies say the fund transfer violates state constitutional language requiring redevelopment tax-increment funds to be used for improvements within the redevelopment project areas where the tax increment is generated.

The law was drafted to meet those requirements by shifting the funds through schools in each redevelopment area.

“Legislators took local redevelopment funds under the guise of benefit to schools when all they really did is short-change schools the same amount of money that would normally come from the state,” John Shirey, executive director of the association, said in a statement Monday.

The agencies were required to pay a total of $1.7 billion toward the fund shift in May, with a further $350 million due in 2011.

The appeal seeks repayment of the first installment and a prohibition of the second payment in 2011.

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