California State Controller John Chiang today announced his intention to audit 18 redevelopment agencies.
According to a statement from his office, the move is an attempt to evaluate how the agencies implement their funds and if their expenditures comply with state law.
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The 18 RDAs selected are intended to represent urban, suburban and rural communities.
Examples of the chosen areas include the cities of Los Angeles, San Jose and Fremont, the County of Riverside and the Parlier Redevelopment Agency in the County of Fresno.
The Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Clarita was not selected.
“The heated debate over whether RDAs are the engines of local economic and job growth or are simply scams providing windfalls to political cronies at the expense of public services has largely been based on anecdotal evidence,” Chiang said.
“As lawmakers deliberate the Governor’s proposal to close RDAs and divert those funds to local schools and public safety agencies, I believe it is important to provide factual, empirical information about how these agencies perform and what they bring to the communities they serve,” he said.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. Included in his plan to trim the state’s $25 billion deficit is the elimination of redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones.
Both programs have been successful in Santa Clarita.
The City’s redevelopment agency has been primarily used to fund construction in downtown Newhall since 1989.
Enterprise zones have saved local businesses close to $70 million since 1997.
The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to formally state its opposition to the elimination of the programs at tonight’s meeting at City Hall.