At a South County forum Feb. 24, National City Mayor Ron Morrison said California Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to cut funding to redevelopment agencies across the state is unwise.
Morrison and Imperial Beach Mayor Jim Janney, along with former San Diego City Councilman Fredrick Schnaubelt, discussed the potential effects of removing redevelopment funds from the state's budget.
Last month Brown sparked a debate between cities and the state when he proposed eliminating California's redevelopment agencies to help close the state's estimated $25 billion budget deficit.
Brown's proposal would collect money from some 400 redevelopment agencies that use it to improve rundown neighborhoods and redirect it to counties, schools and other core government services.
"This is a great ploy to pin people against each other," Morrison said. He called the plan short-sighted and said it's enterprise zones and redevelopment that keep the cities going.
Between 2008 and 2010 National City took in $2.4 million in tax increment and achieved $61 million in projects. "That created 150 full-time jobs and $770,000 in local tax revenue," Morrison said. "That's what you do with redevelopment."
National City City Council agreed last month to distribute an additional $45 million in bonds for future redevelopment projects.
"Fourteen million dollars is brought back into the community each year and used locally," Morrison said of National City.
Schnaubelt said there's been a lot of abuse across the state with redevelopment but offered a solution.
"Eliminate all housing mandates on redevelopment for low income housing," he said. "Why are we putting people with low income in the most expensive commodity there is? It's indefensible to spend money in this manner."