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EconoMeter: Should state end redevelopment agencies?


Sunday, January 16, 2011

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Kelly Cunningham, National University System
Notwithstanding San Diego’s downtown revitalization, the problem with subsidizing public redevelopment in California is the distortion of capital flows and simply shifting investment from one area to another. Little evidence shows projects truly attract new economic activity.
While the ultimate rationale behind redevelopment is to revitalize blighted areas and build the general tax base, studies show programs rarely add enough assessed value and tax revenue to justify amounts subsidized. The few increasing values defined blight too broadly and included large amounts of vacant land, which is just “development.” Diverted tax subsidies are therefore never recovered for other worthy public uses.