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It’s Backkkkkk?! State Bill Wants To Revive Redevelopment Agencies To Tackle Housing Shortage

Construction workers work on a building
Construction workers work on a building
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

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In 2011, while California was experiencing budget issues, Governor Jerry Brown killed redevelopment agencies. Now, there’s a newly proposed bill that would bring a version of these agencies back to life. 

Redevelopment agencies had been around since the 1940s and their function was to invest into communities deemed “blighted.”  The idea was that investment boosted property values and the subsequent tax profit would go back to the redevelopment agency, rather than into the state or county. 

SB 5 would bring back redevelopment agencies, albeit with oversight and limitations on certain types of spending and a requirement that half of revenue be spent on affordable housing. 

Proponents say reviving redevelopment agencies will help California address its housing crisis by providing cities with much needed funds. 

Critics argue that redevelopment agencies disregarded property rights, spent money frivolously and put development decision-making into the hands of government.    

We look at the pros and cons, as well as California’s long history of redevelopment agencies.


Dan Walters, long-time CA politics observer with CALmatters, a nonprofit public interest publication

Steven Greenhut, western region director for the R Street Institute, a DC-based free market think tank, he’s also on the editorial board for Southern California News Group; he tweets @StevenGreenhut 

Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of California Housing Partnership, an affordable housing research and technical assistance non-profit