California state budget
$25 billion deficit
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The mayors of California's largest cities, including Los Angeles, will meet with Gov. Jerry Brown today to ask him to find another way of balancing the state's budget without eliminating municipal redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones.
"I understand and respect the daunting fiscal challenge facing the governor and Legislature, and want to help craft an alternative that protects economic development for our communities most desperate for jobs,'' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement.
"I know the governor shares that priority, and I am confident that we can work together to find a reasonable solution,'' he added.
Redevelopment agencies rely on property taxes for funding, and a greater portion of property taxes would go to the state if city- and county-run redevelopment agencies were abolished.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait are also expected at the meeting, which will be followed by a news conference on the steps of the Capitol.
Villaraigosa's spokesman, Matt Szabo, said the mayors want to "open a productive dialogue.''
"We're not going up with a predetermined prescription; rather, we want to work with the governor to find an alternative that could provide for job creation in our underserved communities,'' he added. "We believe that it's possible to save the money the governor is seeking to save without eliminating all CRA's (community redevelopment agencies).''
Faced with a $25-billion budget deficit, Brown has proposed doing away with redevelopment agencies and diverting their funds to pay for basic services such as education and public safety.
Redevelopment agencies receive billions in property taxes to build affordable housing, as well as retail, commercial and industrial projects.
Their mission is to reduce blight and jumpstart job creation in California's poorest communities.
To preempt Brown from taking their money, several redevelopment agencies have begun transferring their funds over to city control. The Los Angeles City Council is poised to vote Feb. 9 on a "cooperative agreement'' with its redevelopment agency to take over $930 million worth of projects.
City Council President Eric Garcetti said he still has questions about the legality of such a scheme, and other issues. "Is it the best way forward? How does it smell? That's what I'm asking.''
The meeting between the governor and the mayors comes days after State Controller John Chiang announced that his office would audit 18 of California's 400 redevelopment agencies to provide "factual, empirical information about how these agencies perform and what they bring to the communities they serve.''
"The heated debate over whether RDA's (redevelopment agencies) are the engines of local economic and job growth or are simply scams providing windfalls to political cronies at the expense of public services has largely been based on anecdotal evidence,'' he noted.
Community Redevelopment Agencies are funded by a differential rise in property tax revenues that flow from their projects. Any increase in property tax revenues beyond a base-year valuation of the property to be improved goes back to the redevelopment agency, instead of the state, and that money is used to pay off long-term debt and fund other redevelopment projects.
By Christina Villacorte | City News Service
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to highlight his eight years in office — particularly in the areas of public safety, education, business, transportation and the environment — when he delivers his final “state of the city” address this afternoon.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be joined today by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., in a discussion at the Los Angeles Convention Center on the challenges of urban education reform.
Villaraigosa will also be honored at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ 2013 Education Summit for championing education reform. Although the mayor of Los Angeles has no formal role in education, Villaraigosa has made education one of his priorities since taking office in 2005.
In an effort to attract new car dealerships to Los Angeles and increase sales tax revenue to pay for public services, the City Council voted Tuesday to eliminate a business tax on new car sales.
City officials say the city’s business tax, which brings in about $4 million per year, is the main reason 95 car dealerships moved out of the city over the last 25 years.
The council voted 12-0 in favor of the plan by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and carried in the council by Mitchell Englander and Eric Garcetti.
The relationship between the Los Angeles City Council’s three African American members—Bernard C. Parks and Jan Perry on the one side and Herb J. Wesson on the other—shows signs of combusting into an inferno that could deplete much of what political capital the city’s African American community has left.
The latest debacle is over the way Parks and Perry’s districts have been redrawn, but other sectors of the city also have a beef with the Los Angeles Redistricting Commission.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Electric vehicle maker CODA Automotive opened its global headquarters at an event held yesterday that drew Gov. Jerry Brown and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The 100,000 square-foot space next to the Santa Monica (10) Freeway near Fairfax Ave. will house the company’s research and development division, and processing center.