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League Supports Bill to Create New Economic Development Tool for Disadvantaged Communities

March 15, 2013
Yesterday, the League issued a support letter on AB 1080 by Assembly Member Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), which would authorize local governments to create a new entity called a Community Revitalization Investment Authority (CRIA) aimed at improving low income and deteriorated communities, including closed military bases.
Under the bill, a CRIA could be created by a city, a county, or by agreement between a city, county and special district through a joint powers authority. The CRIA would be responsible for investing property tax increment and other available funding with the consent of local agencies (other than schools).
The bill would provide broad authority mirroring former redevelopment authority. Consistent with former redevelopment law, 20 percent of the funds must also be set aside for affordable housing.
For locations other than closed military bases, at least 80 percent of an area qualifying for a CRIA must be inhabited by persons with annual median household income equivalent to 80 percent of the annual statewide median income, and must also meet three of the four following conditions:
  1. Unemployment in the area is at least 3 percent higher than statewide median unemployment;
  2. Crime rates in the area are 5 percent higher than stated median crime rates;
  3. The area has deteriorated or inadequate infrastructure such as streets, sidewalks, water supply, sewer treatment or processing and parks; and
  4. The area has deteriorated commercial or residential structures.
Numerous economic development proposals have been introduced in the 2013 Legislative Session focused on different approaches and policy priorities. AB 1080 fills a void among those proposals by offering a tool that can be used in the state’s disadvantaged poorer areas and neighborhoods, which was the original focus of redevelopment.
As with other pending proposals, the reality is that this will be less financially robust than the former redevelopment tool, yet it can serve as a critical first step and provide choices for local governments’ intent on addressing the challenges faced by California’s most disadvantaged and poorest areas. 
City officials are encouraged to send letters of support for AB 1080. The League’s support letter and a sample support letter are available on the League’s website.

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