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One Down, Two to Go: Update on Anti-Economic Development Bills

SB 673 Fails Passage on Senate Floor

May 31, 2013
The League, cities and the business community scored a victory this week in stopping SB 673 (DeSaulnier) on the Senate Floor.
 
That’s great news, but two other measures that undercut local economic development efforts remain pending. SB 673 would have caused substantial delays and litigation for local economic development efforts by forcing the preparation of an exhaustive analysis parallel to CEQA for any retail or commercial facility project that benefited substantially from a state or federal grant, low-interest loan, land donation or acquisition, remediation, environmental cleanup activity or local subsidy. The League greatly appreciates the Senators who voted against or abstained from this measure in a closely contested vote.

The two remaining bills, AB 667 (Hernández) and AB 562 (Williams) differ in details, yet both impose exhaustive, state-prescribed requirements on economic development activities and projects that maximize expense and delay.

AB 667, a grocery union-sponsored bill, prohibits the approval of certain “superstores” that sell groceries unless a finding can be made that the store would have no material adverse economic effect in a surrounding five-mile “impact area” after the preparation of an exhaustive, 15-item report. The bill’s real effect is to create additional grounds for litigation against a local agency that approves a store. The League’s oppose letter is available online.
 
AB 562, sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, requires local governments to track and maintain comprehensive data on any expenditure or loss of revenue for economic development purposes valued more than $100,000. To these costly and burdensome mandates, AB 562 also adds additional Byzantine requirements for public hearings, biennial reports, and publication of information online. Local government processes are already highly transparent. The bill would have the effect of making local economic development efforts more cumbersome. The League’s oppose letter is available online

The sponsors and supporters of these bills may believe that by limiting and constricting local economic development activities they can retain or expand union or other higher-wage jobs.  While an understandable objective, such measures are much more likely to retard than enhance our fragile economy.
 
Call to Action
 
AB 667 and AB 562 undercut local economic development efforts and undermine the ability of cities and residents to make decisions that best fit their own community. Cities are encouraged to send letters opposing these bills.


 
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