Gov. Jerry Brown wants to abolish redevelopment agencies statewide, calling them “piggy banks” for local officials — a mild statement compared to critics who see them as nothing more than “slush funds” that all too often enrich developers with taxpayer dollars that should go to schools, cops and other basic services.
If the governor gets his way — a long shot given the ferocious opposition from cities and counties — $1.7 billion would be saved annually and used to remove the state’s $25-billion deficit and restore California to a sound financial footing.
Burbank city officials have written the governor insisting the redevelopment agencies are vital to the city’s economic health.
Glendale officials, in an effort to keep Brown from getting his hands on their redevelopment money, took it a step further. Following the lead of Los Angeles, the city two weeks ago voted at a special meeting to lock up $480 million in redevelopment revenues — more than half as much as L.A. is trying to squirrel away.