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Governor Encouraged to Sign 10 Economic/Community Development Bills

September 12, 2014
The last six-years have not been good times for local economic development and community revitalization efforts.
 
We all know the story, but with the economy and state budget improving Gov. Jerry Brown now has a package of 10 bills on his desk that, if signed, can allow local agencies to move forward with economic and community development efforts.

These 10 League-supported bills, all helpful, fall into four categories:
  • Tax Increment Financing for Infrastructure and Community Development. There are three bills in this category, each targeted at unique problems: SB 628 (Beall) contains amendments drafted by the Administration with improvements to Infrastructure Finance District law that should make this little-used tool more helpful; AB 2280 (Alejo) provides a redevelopment option for disadvantaged urban and rural areas; and SB 614 (Wolk) follows-up on previous legislation signed by the Governor encouraging city annexation of poor-unincorporated areas. All of these measures have significant accountability provisions; none have any impact on schools or state funding. 
  • Tax-Credits to Incentivize Private Investment: There are three bills in this category. AB 1839 (Gatto) would substantially increase the state’s efforts to retain its film industry by offering up to $330 million per year in tax credits; AB 1999 (Atkins) assists downtown revitalization efforts by expanding incentives to renovate historic buildings by layering up to a 25 percent state credit on top of existing 20 percent federal tax credits; and AB 1399 (Medina) would make California more competitive in the effort to attract federal New Markets Tax Credits by offering matching state credits. All of these programs will help stimulate private investment and job growth.
  • Unwinding RDA’s: Two fit this category. AB 2493 (Bloom) represents a multiyear effort by the author to enable local agencies to spend former RDA bond proceeds that were issued in 2011 for infrastructure and affordable housing provided evidence exists the projects were previously planned. SB 1129 (Steinberg) clarifies numerous areas in RDA dissolution statutes to avoid future disputes and accelerate the ability of communities to move on. Signing these bills would help both the state and local agencies leave the past in the rearview mirror.
  • Fixing the Glitch for New Cities and Annexations: Two bills form a combined effort to restore vital revenue. SB 69 (Roth) and AB 1521 (Fox) represents a bipartisan effort to assist four recently incorporated cities and cities that had annexed inhabited territory which were severely harmed by the loss of city shares of VLF in a 2011 budget trailer bill. Both authors and the affected communities have worked hard on this effort to craft a surgical fix that also supports good planning policy. After several years of trying, it is time to get this done.
By signing these bills, the Governor would provide a robust package of options so that local agencies can move forward with economic and community development efforts. Cities are encouraged to write letters supporting the above bills and encouraging the Governor’s signature. Sample letters are available at www.cacities.org/billsearch. Type the bill number into the search bar to access sample letters and additional information.


 
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