Legislation by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and former Santa Monica Mayor, that could free up nearly $750 million in redevelopment agency proceeds for cities has passed the Assembly floor. The bill, AB 2493, would release funds that have been held hostage by the state since redevelopment agencies were dissolved in 2011.

“When the Legislature and Governor stripped redevelopment agencies away from cities in 2011, we lost a major tool in fighting blight and reinvigorating our local economies,” said Bloom. “Worst of all, many cities like West Hollywood and Santa Monica were in the middle of moving major projects forward when the state withheld their funds. This bill will allow us to get back on track with important economic development projects overwhelmingly supported by the local electorate.”

In 2011 the Governor and Legislature dissolved redevelopment agencies and redirected $1.7 billion away from community development and affordable housing projects. Many redevelopment agencies had already legally issued bonds for projects and must now make debt payments even though they cannot reap the economic benefits of the now stalled project.

Statewide, approximately $750 million in 2011 redevelopment bond proceeds are sitting idle and cannot be used. If current law prevails, cities will make debt payments for a decade, costing them nearly $1 billion while not completing a single redevelopment project. These non-productive debt payments will further depress economic activity.

“This bill offers a common sense solution that will foster job creation, economic development, affordable housing construction, and the completion of needed infrastructure projects. The bonds are there waiting. We just need to allow local governments to use them,” added Bloom.

AB 2493 passed the Assembly floor on a bipartisan, 68-1 vote. The vote is the latest in a series of successful votes for the bill including two Assembly policy committees and the Assembly Committee on Appropriations which is known for stopping many bills from moving forward. The bill now heads to the Senate where it must be approved before finally going to the Governor for approval.

Richard Bloom chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation. He represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.

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