Friday, June 11, 2010

Mike Ammann letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

Solano’s local economy took another major hit when the courts recently ruled that the State has the right to raid community economic development Redevelopment Agency Funds. What’s this mean to all local California communities and in particular Solano? It means that in the next two years local communities in California will lose $2.05 billion in redevelopment funding while in Solano County the communities will mail checks to the state treasurer for approximately $35 million. At a time when the state and Solano County’s unemployment rate is over 12% our communities are disarmed in the battle to create employment opportunities for residents.

Communities hoped that the courts would overrule the State's actions which have virtually gutted local Redevelopment Agency Funding and the ability to support the expansion or location of new private sector projects that create jobs and tax base. Redevelopment Agencies (RDA’s) in the past have helped secure loans for new business ventures, funded public infrastructure that development of office and industrial parks that are “shovel ready” for expanding local companies and prospective newcomers to our communities. A couple examples of “shovel ready” include City of Fairfield Green Valley Corporate Parks and Solano Business Park. But the best example is the Suisun City that has in a short 20 years become a “smart growth” success that is synonymous with “redevelopment”.

This unfortunate decision by the state and the court will make it nearly impossible for Solano cities to maintain marketing outreach efforts which have resulted in jobs while not being able to move forward on redevelopment plans to improve areas in need of physical improvements. RDA’s are now or soon will be out of the business of assisting business grow jobs and tax base The end result, fewer new jobs and public money match for private risk capital flowing in within the state's and Solano’s economy.

By taking $2.05 billion, the state now will be able to pass through and use that money to fund schools in redevelopment areas. Sacramento continues to raid local funding to fill budget gaps and disrupt local communities’ development efforts. Be sure to ask candidates running for state public office how they will work with local communities to create jobs and increase tax revenues if elected. Needless to say keep this in mind when voting next week.

Michael Ammann
President, Solano Economic Development Corporation