Brown Adds Insult to Injury with Redevelopment Vetoes

 

Even the most irate objectors to Gov. Jerry Brown's dismantling of redevelopment held out hope that in agreeing to killing redevelopment, the legislature would invent a new, better system for stoking local economic growth. Yesterday, the governor dashed those hopes. 

Facing a total six bills designed to replace aspects of redevelopment or otherwise help cities, Brown vetoed all six. In his veto statements, Brown indicated that it was too soon to consider alternatives. The wind-down process has been tumultuous for many cities, but almost all have clamored for immediate relief for the billions in tax increment funding that they have collectively lost this year. 

The vetoed bills include the following: 

  • AB 345 by Assemblymember Norma Torres (D-Pomona) – Redevelopment. 
  • AB 2144 by Assemblymember John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) – Local government: infrastructure and revitalization financing districts. 
  • AB 2551 by Assemblymember Ben Hueso (D-Chula Vista) – Infrastructure financing districts: renewable energy zones.
  • SB 214 by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) – Infrastructure financing districts: voter approval: repeal. 
  • SB 1030 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund allocations: excess Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund moneys.
  • SB 1156 by Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) – Sustainable Communities Investment Authority.

Most prominent among these were the infrastructure financing bills, as many had hoped that looser restrictions on setting up IFD's -- which currently require 2/3 voter approval -- and SB 1156, which, to complement Senate Bill 375, would have given cities more tools to promote development in districts heavily served by public transit. Many such districts are in former redevelopment project areas.  

Brown indicated that he feared that such new tools would distract cities from the burdensome process of winding down their former redevelopment agencies. 

"Expanding the scope of infrastructure financing districts is premature," Brown wrote. "This measure would likely cause cities to focus their efforts on using new tools provided by the measure instead of winding down redevelopment. This would prevent the state from achieving the General Fund savings assumed in this year’s budget."

Brown's veto messages indicate that he supported the spirit of many of the bills that he vetoed, thus simultaneously giving cities hope while telling them to hang on for another year. 

Brown was unusually complimentary of SB 1156, despite his veto, writing, "the planning and investment that is envisioned by this bill would help to develop and redevelop a California that is sustainable and thriving." But he wrote that he would prefer to "take a constructive look" at  such an investment authority after the wind-down is complete.