Category Archive: legislation

  1. May Revise Brings Redevelopment Dissolution Tweaks

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    Last week Governor Brown released a revised 2015-2016 budget that accounted for greater-than-expected growth in the state’s tax rolls. The panoply of talking heads, advocates, and policy wonks have already dissected the potential effects the new budget may have on higher education, the state’s rainy day fund, and the state’s social safety net. So instead of rehashing those stories, we’re focusing our attention on updates to the redevelopment dissolution process. (more…)

  2. Bills Roundup

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    February 27 was the deadline for state lawmakers to introduce bills for the 2015-2016 legislative session. This week, the legislature will finally get down to business and start considering the hundreds of bills introduced, which run the gamut from affordable housing to infrastructure, to climate change. Only a small fraction of these bills will make it out of both houses by September 11th, bound for the Governor’s desk. Here are some newly introduced bills that we’re following this legislative season: (more…)

  3. Investing in California’s Safety Net

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    Although the California economy continued its rebound in 2014, the Golden State’s economic upswing has been uneven. High unemployment still persists in significant portions of the state, and salaries for low- and mid-wage workers have not managed to keep pace with inflation [PDF]. While the Governor’s budget aims to address these inequities, in part, by increasing and reallocating investments in K-12 education and by bolstering the state’s community college system, it may also be time to reevaluate the state’s role in sustaining a strong social safety net. As we move toward environmental, public education, and higher education policies that aim to address issues of social inequity, anti-poverty advocates have argued that we should also look at how restoring funding for anti-poverty programs to pre-recession levels can help ensure that all California families can participate in our growing economy. (more…)

  4. Time to Ditch the Highway Trust Fund

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    In what has become the norm for transportation finance in the U.S., the national Highway Trust Fund is once again on the brink of insolvency. Everyone acknowledges that the federal gas tax meant to finance transportation infrastructure – and left unchanged since 1993 – can’t keep up with the country’s growing transport needs. And while low gas prices have state and national politicians mulling an oft-contemplated (but rarely successful) attempt to raise fuel taxes, it may be time to consider a completely different tactic. In the face of dwindling fuel tax revenue, state governments are trying new approaches to finance transportation improvements. Can these state experiments transform transportation at the national level? (more…)

  5. President Signs the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

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    Job-seekers will have better access to employment opportunities now that President Obama has signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (H.R. 803). The bill, which takes into effect in July 2015, is an update to improve the 1998 Workforce Investment Act (WIA). It provides job-seekers with education, training, and support services that are matched to the qualifications demanded by employers who are looking to recruit skilled workers. (more…)

  6. Props for Prop. 13-Lite?

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    Image from Michael Premo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21180619@N07/6060717790/in/photolist-aeyLfj-aevWvV-aevWmg-aevWPB-aevW8X-aeyLCE-aeyL87-aeyLk7-aevX7K-aevW1k-aevVWB-aevWRv-aevX9e-aevXee-aevWCz-aeyLQ3-aeyLmq-aevWsP-aevXie-8eBfCe-aMh4st-a7ah7i-aFipSp-dMxj87-cHQ1C7-cHQ3Hf-cHPXRd-cHPZJ9-cHPWPu-cHQ4n3-cHQ5jy-cHQ2HG-cHPYvq-cHPVFE-cHQ6em-aEYWey-aEQ4nz-aETUu9-aETV9u-aETUxo-aEQ4ie-aEQ4Qe-aETUJ3

    Image from Michael Premo: link

    The consequences of gentrification – both good and bad – continue to be hotly debated. While municipalities are eager to reap the benefits of increased land values and a growing tax base, some cities are also caught in a delicate balancing act. While promoting policies that attract wealthier residents to urban neighborhoods, some local governments are also attempting to minimize the displacement of longtime, lower-income denizens. Policies being considered on the East Coast to combat the displacement of low-income homeowners may have some implications for Proposition 13 reform in California. (more…)

  7. Governor Brown’s Vision for Redevelopment 2.0

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    Image from Washington State Department of Transportation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7821771@N05/5306805749/

    Image from Washington State Department of Transportation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7821771@N05/5306805749/

    Since the dissolution of redevelopment agencies in 2011, cities and counties throughout the state have been left without a well-funded, practical financing mechanism for economic development.   Governor Brown’s new budget trailer bill [PDF] aims to bring back some elements of redevelopment via new and improved infrastructure financing districts.  Yet portions of the Governor’s proposal may not catch fire with local governments. (more…)

  8. The Redevelopment Wind Down Continues

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    Image from Alex Proimos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/34120957@N04/7581237364/

    Image from Alex Proimos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/34120957@N04/7581237364/

    It’s been more than two years since Governor Brown signed the death knell for California’s 400-odd redevelopment agencies, but that hasn’t meant that things have been any less contentious when local government interests conflict with the state’s objectives. Here’s where we are in the process, a snapshot of some of the battles that are being waged, and a look at what’s to come in the ongoing saga of the demise of redevelopment in the Golden State. (more…)

  9. Cali-Baja Rising

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    The federal government is back up and running and our nation has managed to avoid yet another fiscal crisis – hooray! While we enjoy the temporary reprieve from the brinksmanship that has come to characterize politics in Washington, we also look back at California’s last legislative session. The California Legislature and the Governor have been busy passing bills that put the state on a more progressive course. Among other things, the state has increased wages for many low-income Californians, affirmed prevailing wage policies, supported clean energy incentives, addressed issues related to housing and homelessness, and increased safety for cyclists. We’re looking forward to the next legislative session, with the hope that the legislature will tackle issues of local economic development in the wake of redevelopment’s demise and address the looming prospect of CEQA reform. With the prospect of a more friendly policy environment on the horizon, this month we take a look at the rising prominence of the San Diego-Baja California region as an international hub for manufacturing and trade. We look at how philanthropic groups are partnering with cities to find new ways to test good ideas. And we look at examples of how large institutions can use their purchasing power to promote social justice and foster economic development. These stories remind us that even in the face of political uncertainty and a nascent economic recovery, great ideas are still being put into practice.