The recent budget passed by the State of California should serve as a wakeup call to all Californians that a “California Spring” may be what is needed to get the Golden State back on track. The budget includes the elimination of California Redevelopment Agencies which the “governed” have on three separate occasions told the “government” not to touch.
Elimination of California Redevelopment Agencies has much broader implications than the loss of funds, jobs, and economic opportunities for cities throughout the state. This action does more than confirm the State’s institutional arrogance and disregard for the voters of the state. It is also an institutional acknowledgement of an economic ignorance or disdain for how to actually expand a tax base and create jobs.
Even well intentioned efforts such as California Forward operate from a misguided premise that the State must “bestow” power to local governments rather than recognizing true legitimacy and authority flows “up” from the residents of California.
On three separate occasions residents of California have sent a clear signal they want Sacramento to solve its own issues without tampering with local resources. Redevelopment Agencies are one of the pillars of local control and economic opportunities. But today, just as King George ignored the colonies, so too Sacramento ignores the will of the people on this and other issues.
The denial of the Governor’s efforts to go to the ballot for revenue increases ignores the “social contract” the governor established with California voters when he said he would only support raising taxes unless the voters approved them. He deserves that opportunity. He won clearly stating that would be his approach. Likewise the will of the people should be respected on local control.
The “budget deal” reveals the fatal flaw in Sacramento’s thinking today. RDA’s are not just one more program. The failure to recognize how to grow and expand tax bases means that Sacramento fundamentally doesn’t understand that cities historically are where people gather together to engage in commercial activities and create wealth.
Ending Redevelopment Agencies takes away one of the key economic tools at precisely the time where expanding local economics and creating jobs should be our number one priority.
To knowingly suggest the State is subsidizing redevelopment speaks to an unimaginable lack of understanding how the marketplace actually works and how tax revenues are ultimately generated. It certainly isn’t the approach I want guiding the world’s 8th largest economy.
Let your state lawmaker’s and the Governor’s office know that your vote should count and that eliminating Redevelopment Agencies is not the way to move California forward.