Opinion

Our View: RDAs only hurting themselves

Angered that California might take away their subsidies and tax breaks while it deals with this pesky little problem — a $26.6 billion deficit — groups that represent redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones are threatening to sue the state and its taxpayers.

In so doing, they are revealing why Gov. Jerry Brown deserves even more support as he confronts these entrenched special interests.

California faces a financial catastrophe, requiring sacrifice from all sides.

Instead of recognizing that crisis and offering some practicable ways to help keep the state solvent, cities, redevelopment agencies and enterprise zone beneficiaries are prepared to sue the state in courts, adding to the costs on taxpayers.

Businesses and industries that operate in enterprise zones are most shameless.

For years, they have benefitted from the tax credits, operating loss deductions and other breaks that enterprise zones provide.

Yet instead of giving back in a time of need, they are now claiming that California taxpayers are obligated to provide such benefits in perpetuity, or else be found in breach of contract.

Using the same logic, homeowners in Merced and other cities could sue the state for contract clause violations.

After all, we were lured here on the promise of adequate policing and reasonably funded schools. How come the state and city isn't meeting its contract with us?

As for the redevelopment agencies, they've done nothing but build enemies the past few weeks with an over-the-top public relations campaign attempting to portray themselves as victims.

Someone should do an audit and find out how much of this campaign is being funded by developers who have been direct recipients of redevelopment subsidies.

Especially ludicrous is the League of California Cities' claim that eliminating redevelopment would violate Proposition 22, which prevented the state from grabbing funds used for local transportation and other services.

As the Brown administration has rightly noted, elimination of redevelopment agencies wouldn't result in a state money grab. It simply would give locals more latitude on how to spend the money.

If they wanted to subsidize bars and night clubs, they could do so. But if they instead wanted to use the money for law enforcement, low-income housing or other local priorities, they could do that, too.

So let the cities and enterprise zones attempt to intimidate by vowing lawsuits. Their threats are only hurting their cause, and helping Gov. Brown's.

What do you think? If you want to comment on this editorial go to mercedsunstar.com/opinion, then click on "Send a letter to the Sun-Star." (This editorial originated with our sister newspaper The Sacramento Bee.)

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