Brown rejects plea to spare redevelopment agencies

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Gov. Jerry Brown delivers the state of the state address as Speaker of the Assembly John Perez (left) looks on at the California State Capitol on Jan. 31, 2011 in Sacramento.

In his State of the State address Monday night Gov. Jerry Brown included a message to big city mayors who recently trekked to the capitol. They met with Brown to tell him they’re against his plan to scrap redevelopment agencies. Their appeals, though, didn’t sway the governor.

To help balance the budget, Brown wants to scrap 400 redevelopment agencies in California. He said that could save the state $2 billion in the next fiscal year.

Mayors from California’s largest cities urged Brown to back off.

“They base their case on the claim that redevelopment funds leverage other funds and create jobs.” Brown said.

Redevelopment money pays to build low-income housing or improve blighted areas. Brown said as a former mayor of Oakland he understands why that money is popular.

“But I also understand that redevelopment funds come directly from local property taxes that would otherwise pay for schools and core city and county services such as police and fire protection and care for the most vulnerable people in our society," he said.

Given that long list of needs, Brown said, California can’t afford to set aside money for redevelopment any more.

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