The 2012–13 Budget: Unwinding Redevelopment

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unwindingOn February 1, 2012, all redevelopment agencies in California were dissolved and the process for unwinding their financial affairs began. Given the scope of these agencies' funds, assets, and financial obligations, the unwinding process will take time. Prior to their dissolution, redevelopment agencies (RDAs) received over $5 billion in property tax revenues annually and had tens of billions of dollars of outstanding bonds, contracts, and loans. This report reviews the history of RDAs, the events that led to their dissolution, and the process communities are using to resolve their financial obligations. Over time, as these obligations are paid off, schools and other local agencies will receive the property tax revenues formerly distributed to RDAs. The report discusses these major findings: Although ending redevelopment was not the Legislature's objective, the state had few practical alternatives. Ending redevelopment changes the distribution of property tax revenues among local agencies, but not the amount of tax revenues raised. Decisions about redevelopment replacement programs merit careful review. The decentralized process for unwinding redevelopment promotes a needed local debate over the use of the property tax. Key state and local choices will drive the state fiscal effect. The report recommends the Legislature amend the redevelopment dissolution legislation to address timing issues, clarify the treatment of pass–through payments, and address key concerns of redevelopment bond investors.
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