California economic development authority and BB&K attorney Joseph E. Coomes has co-authored a new report, “After Redevelopment: New Tools and Strategies to Promote Economic Development and Build Sustainable Communities.” The report was undertaken by the Urban Land Institute San Francisco district council, in conjunction with the district councils in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Orange County, and San Diego. This effort began as a response to the end of redevelopment programs in California in February 2012 as a consequence of the state’s tight budget situation and state legislation enacted in 2011.
The report does not call for a reinstatement of the redevelopment programs dealing with blighted areas but instead recommends a comprehensive set of tools in common for local jurisdictions to promote local economic development and build sustainable and healthy communities addressing needs and priorities in their respective jurisdictions and regions. Among the most important of these tools (a few of which were only partially addressed in a limited context by the legislature in 2013) are the flexibility to acquire, assemble and remediate sites and negotiate the sale or lease of land for economic development, and the ability to employ a range of available financing sources including the voluntary use of tax increment without creating a fiscal burden on the state. This latter recommendation is critical because while some jurisdictions, particularly charter cities, have been able to indirectly rebate a portion of the property tax or sales tax from new development, this recommendation would permit the direct pledge by a local jurisdiction of tax increment for the repayment of bonds or other indebtedness.
A basic assumption of the report is that local jurisdictions and their metro regions are best suited to determine the economic development priorities and strategies for their respective regions.
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