A judge ruled on Tuesday that the state has the right to take local redevelopment funds as a step to help close California’s budget deficit.

The ruling by Sacramento County Superior Judge Lloyd Connelly allows the state to take more than $2 billion from local redevelopment funds and transfer the money to school operations.

Local governments had attempted to defend their dollars to use for public works projects and revitalizing downtowns, stating that it was unconstitutional and would prevent redevelopment agencies from moving ahead on projects that would create jobs during bleak times of unemployment.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says that the money would better serve schools in those districts as a method to make up declining general fund revenue.

Connelly’s decision stated that the state could use the money towards schools located within redevelopment agency boundaries.

According to an Associated Press report, the California Redevelopment Association, the leading plaintiff in the case, was deciding whether to appeal.

“We strongly disagree with Judge Connelly’s ruling, which effectively says the Legislature has unlimited discretion to redirect local redevelopment funds to any purpose it wishes,” said John Shirey, executive director of the association, in a written statement. “The Legislature needs to deal with its budget problems by making hard decisions using its own limited resources — not by taking away local government funds.”

The following are notes from throughout the state of different local governments that will be affected:

James Spencer can be reached at jspencer@publicceo.com