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What SB 628 means for local government

SB 628 (Beall) stands to shift back to local government certain powers related to financing infrastructure improvement projects that had been stripped away with the dissolution of redevelopment.

After the Governor eliminated redevelopment in early 2012, cities were left with few tools to fund large-scale infrastructure and economic development projects. SB 628 empowers local governments to create infrastructure finance districts and issue bonds to complete projects. By creating finance districts, tax increment can be used as the driver for complete economic development, affordable housing, sustainable development, environmental mitigation and other infrastructure projects.

While the Governor had appeared amenable to similar proposals, earlier versions of this plan included a 55% voter approval requirement for the creation of these districts. SB 628 language includes a 55% voter approval for bond issuance for projects. While this is an improvement from the voter-approval requirement for district creation, many worry it will serve as a barrier to completing projects such as affordable housing units that may be opposed by the community but are vital to meeting affordable housing allocations.

The bill was recently signed by the Governor. Local governments and municipal bond financers alike are cautiously optimistic about the implications that this piece of legislation could have on local governments left handicapped by the 2012 elimination of redevelopment.

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