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Senate Committees Hear Options for Economic Development on Same Day as League's Economic Development Task Force Starts Meeting

League First Vice President Bill Bogaard Urges the State to Avoid Mandates and Focus on Resources

February 22, 2012

This morning the Senate Governance and Finance and Transportation and Housing Committees held a joint informational hearing on economic development options in the wake of redevelopment agency dissolution through AB 1x 26.

Legislators heard testimony from local economic development and affordable housing professionals with League First Vice President and Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard testifying on behalf of the League.

 

"There will be no easy solutions to replace the tool we lost ..." said Mayor Bogaard, "[but] ... California's 482 cities and 31.5 million residents are resilient. We will move forward and face our challenges."

Following the Senate hearing, Mayor Bogaard chaired the first meeting of the League's new economic development task force.

Senate Hearing

Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was the first to address the committees, outlining his ideas for creating new economic development strategies. He suggested that new economic development programs should be focused on creating regional collaboration, furthering statewide goals such as SB 375, attracting high-skill, high-wage jobs and make affordable housing a priority.

"I believe that the new policies we enact should retain the essential feature of local control that characterized redevelopment historically. The Legislature can and will do all it can to establish clear programmatic guidelines and performance measurements in statute, but the real work will be done by local officials making decisions for the benefit of their communities," said Sen. Steinberg.

Sen. Steinberg also announced his intention to introduce legislation that will allow cities and counties to retain the assets of their dissolved redevelopment agencies in order to fund future economic development. In addition to protecting existing assets, he suggested that public pension funds could invest in economic development and noted the need for a stable permanent source of funding for economic development.

Marianne O'Malley, managing principal analyst, Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), presented information from the LAO report "Unwinding Redevelopment." She discussed a number of economic development tools for local government.

Sen. Lois Wolk, chair of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, noted that the majority of these tools require a two-thirds vote and are therefore less attractive options for raising funds for economic development.

Mayor Bogaard began his testimony representing the League saying, "I'm here in the spirit of cooperation and new economic development. We look forward to a constructive role and a helpful role as the Senate proceeds in this examination of the future of redevelopment."

His remarks focused on the need for comprehensive cleanup to AB 1x 26 and creating resources for economic development without mandates and restrictions that would limit the ability to create economic development. Bogaard also noted that the League's new economic development task forces would also be discussing many of the same issues as the committee and hopes to contribute to the Senate's work.

Concluding his testimony, Mayor Bogaard urged the committees to avoid imposing further mandates and emphasized the need for resources at the local level.

Task Force Meeting

Immediately following the Senate hearing the League's new economic development task force met for the first time.

The task force is chaired by League First Vice President and Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and vice chaired by League Second Vice President and San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros. The task force membership is comprised of representatives from the League's board, policy committees, professional departments, and divisions as well as representatives from the California Redevelopment Association.

The task force is discussing AB 1x 26 cleanup, the legal, technical and policy challenges with the dissolution of redevelopment, other possible tools and strategies for economic development, and policy questions surrounding the dissolution of redevelopment agencies and future tools.

The task force will set its next meeting date at the conclusion of today's meeting.



 
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