ALAMEDA, Calif. — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday vetoed a bill that would have expanded the authority of redevelopment agencies into job-creation activities.
It was one of dozens of vetoes the governor issued Thursday, the deadline for him to act on bills approved in this year’s regular legislative session. AB 2531 was a high-profile priority for the California Redevelopment Association, which lobbies for redevelopment agencies.
The bill would have expanded the permitted scope of their activities by allowing them to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other financial assistance to businesses in redevelopment project areas for industrial and manufacturing uses if they met one of several criteria, such as increasing employment or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The bill passed with support from the Legislature’s majority Democrats and opposition from members of the GOP minority. Schwarzenegger sided with his fellow Republicans.
“Redevelopment funds are to be used solely for the purpose of eliminating blight in urban neighborhoods in California cities,” he wrote in his veto message. “This bill would authorize the use of redevelopment funds for projects that are not necessarily blighted as well as for projects outside the redevelopment area, and as such would violate the primary purpose of redevelopment law.”
On Sept. 25, the governor vetoed another economic development-related loan program. AB 2437 would have authorized the California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission, a branch of the State Treasurer’s Office that allocates industrial development bonds, to make loans or credit lines available to companies building or rehabilitating factories and equipment.
Schwarzenegger, in his veto message, said that the proper location for such a program would be in the governor’s office. “In addition, this bill would create new higher costs to employers as a result of the prevailing-wage requirements on projects financed under this bill,” he wrote.
Among the measures Schwarzenegger signed Thursday was AB 1873, which authorizes the state treasurer, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and the State Compensation Insurance Fund to purchase bonds issued by local Property Assessed Clean Energy programs, in which local governments issue bonds backed by property assessments to finance energy-efficiency upgrades on the properties.
The future of such PACE programs remains in doubt after the Federal Housing Finance Agency this year effectively directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not to underwrite mortgages on properties with PACE bond assessments.
On Wednesday Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have authorized California governments to securitize the future federal subsidy streams for their Build America Bond issues.
On Thursday alone, the governor announced 97 vetoes and 140 bill signings. The tally for the 2010 legislative session was 726 bills signed and 298 vetoed.
Another bill Schwarzenegger signed Thursday requires placement agents who solicit business with the state’s two large pension funds to register as lobbyists.
The bill was sparked by revelations that former CalPERS board member Alfred Villalobos received tens of millions of dollars in commissions from funds that received CalPERS investments.
“Bounty-based compensation and unrestricted gift-giving encourage unethical conduct,” Controller John Chiang, a CalPERS board member, said in a statement. “This bill provides transparency.”
Though lawmakers adjourned Aug. 31, they are not really done for the year — they still need to enact a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.