Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
California State Supreme Court will begin to consider the fate of state redevelopment agencies. Today, the court will hear begin hearing arguments from the California Redevelopment Association who filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that would take $1.7 billion worth of tax revenue from new development projects from 400 redevelopment agencies and divert the cash to state coffers to pay for public services.
Opponents of the legislation say redevelopment agencies create jobs and provide a much-needed economic push for local economies struggling to balance large budget deficits.
"What's at stake for the cities is 300,000 private-sector jobs a year, funding for public infrastructure projects, the cleanup of brownfields and the revitalization of blighted, urban areas," Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of California Cities told the Associated Press.
State officials and others disagree. They say the money would be better spent on schools and law enforcement.
"Redevelopment agencies are among the greatest abusers of eminent domain and waste taxpayer dollars. During these tough economic times, taxpayers should not be subsidizing sports arenas, hotels and luxury golf courses, especially as local and state government are cutting essential public services." was the statement from Marko Mlikotin of California's Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights.
In July of this year, Mayor Sanders and other mayors from across the county publicly supported the lawsuit, calling the legislation "unconstitutional." That same month the city council approved a budget that sent nearly $70 million from redevelopment tax increment to the state.