Proposals to extend the life of redevelopment project areas for as long as 40 years continue to float around the state Capitol as part of a budget-balancing package. Local redevelopment agencies or some other entity would issue tax-increment bonds based on future revenues, and the state would get a chunk of the proceeds to help offset the budget deficit. In exchange, redevelopment agencies could continue implementing redevelopment plans and receiving tax increment without having to make legal findings that blight still exists.
Although a detailed, written proposal for the redevelopment extension has not surfaced, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) has already gone on the defensive. In a December 16 letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger, CSAC called the proposal both "legally questionable" and ineffective, because most tax increment is diverted from school districts and the state is obligated to backfill the lost revenue. "Counties simply cannot afford to continue involuntarily contributing to redevelopment activities beyond their statutory deadlines," the CSAC letter states.
One potential supporter of a redevelopment extension is the City of Industry, where developer Ed Roski Jr. has proposed a 560-acre project on city-owned land that would include a pro football stadium, a shopping mall and entertainment district, and 1.5 million square feet of offices (see CP&DR Places, June 2008
). Last year, Industry sponsored legislation that would have allowed it to continue redevelopment activities for an additional 10 years without renewed blight findings (see CP&DR In Brief, May 2008
). Although the city denied it, the bill was largely seen as a vehicle for football stadium financing. The bill died without a hearing.
Now, Industry has called a special election for January 20 at which the city's 82 registered voters will decide on a proposed $500 million general obligation bond that would provide the infrastructure for Roski's project. Also on the ballot are proposals to tax tickets and parking at entertainment venues, creation of a municipal electric utility, authorization for the city to award public works contracts without competitive bidding, and a measure that would prohibit people who live other than in permanent residences from voting in the city.