Redevelopment development

Initiative to bring back redevelopment agencies launched

An initiative that would repeal the California Supreme Court’s 2011 decision to eliminate redevelopment agencies has received approval from the secretary of state allowing supporters to start collecting the needed 504,760 voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Prior to the decision, more than 400 local redevelopment agencies in California used property tax revenues to pay for projects that mitigated blight. In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown made a push to eliminate the agencies in order to ease the state’s fiscal crisis. After the state Legislature passed a law abolishing the agencies, cities and redevelopment agencies filed a lawsuit, but the Supreme Court upheld the law and it went into effect Feb. 1, 2012.

The new initiative would allow local governments to re-establish the agencies and “resume redirection of certain local property taxes to redevelopment projects.” It would also expand the definition of “blight” to allow whole cities and counties to be considered redevelopment areas if the county’s unemployment rate is higher than the state or national average.