Protecting Funding for Affordable Housing in Spite of the Elimination of Redevelopment
When redevelopment was eliminated by the Legislature and Governor Brown in 2011 in order to stabilize local and state revenues collected through property taxes, it also had the impact of reducing a critical source of ongoing funding for affordable housing. There were myriad pieces of legislation that followed the elimination of redevelopment that were necessary to correct and clarify certain procedures and tailor the law to facilitate the wind-down of individual agencies. An opportunity arose to correct a long-standing property tax inequity for Stanislaus County that had existed since the passage of Proposition 13 and subsequent legislation (AB 8) that ultimately cost Stanislaus County tens of millions of dollars over the years. No less than ten bills had been proposed – but failed – since that time to correct the statutory formula that caused this inequity.
With the leadership of elected officials from Stanislaus County and key budget advisors along with persistent efforts from Paul Yoder and Karen Lange, a critical piece of that legislation to close out redevelopment also included statutory adjustments to eliminate the property tax inequity, which then immediately had the impact of infusing millions of dollars on an annual basis into the Stanislaus County budget. That legislation also included a critical statutory clarification regarding what enforceable obligations were as it pertained to urban renewal projects. Those adjustments, included in the same measure, yielded half of a billion dollars to build affordable housing where it is critically needed. While the measure was essentially an omnibus bill – albeit a controversial one due to the objection of many cities to the underlying premise of eliminating redevelopment – it was only through a years’ long pursuit to correct the formula and ensure funding for affordable housing where it was needed most, that these successes were realized.