Brown proposes eliminating redevelopment

That would mean doing away with Fremont’s redevelopment agency, which has built many beautiful freeway interchanges in its day.

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The other interesting story here is Gov. Brown’s proposal to eliminate the redevelopment agencies. Getting rid of enterprise zones is a no-brainer; those things have been a costly failure. But the redevelopment agencies aren’t as clear-cut a case. Many such agencies are providing some of the most effective and forward-thinking urban planning in the state, much moreso than the relatively status quo-friendly planning departments of most cities. Further, many major urban projects are dependent on redevelopment dollars, such as a convention center expansion in San Diego.

On the other hand, one could make a pretty strong case that funding our schools is more important than enlarging the San Diego convention center so that Comic-Con doesn’t move to LA or Anaheim. And Gov. Brown may not need voter approval to abolish the redevelopment agencies and redirect their funding to schools.

Overall, this is a very risky move by Gov. Brown. I’m a bit surprised that he appears to be trying for tax increases and financial solutions that were rejected by voters in 2009 and 2010, and while Californians do need to be shown what will happen if those revenues aren’t approved, Brown would also do well to add some new kinds of tax solutions as well – particularly higher taxes on those making $200,000 or more. Either way, progressives are going to have quite a fight on our hands this year, and if we lose, California will be headed into the abyss for some time to come.

Matt Artz