By Chris Norby | Legislators should resist any attempts to bring back redevelopment agencies into California’s governmental mix, and remember why they were abolished seven years ago.
When Governor Brown ended redevelopment in 2011, over $6 billion in annual property tax revenues were restored to public schools, and away from subsidizing auto dealers, malls and big box retailers.
Under the guise of eliminating loosely defined “urban blight” redevelopment agencies had become a cash cow for politically-favored developers to seize private property through eminent domain and displace residents and small businesses.
Their failure lay strewn across California’s landscape; vacant auto dealers, empty big box retailers and derelict malls, victims of both overbuilding and internet sales. When they were finally shut down in 2011, redevelopment agencies left nearly $100 billion in indebtedness. Through “tax increment” financing, they were diverting 12% of all property tax revenues statewide into private land-grabs that enriched private developers at the expense of public education.
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