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Santa Barbara, Goleta Redevelopment Agencies Forced to Pay $1.5 Million to State

Court ruling upholds California's right to raid local coffers

California’s redevelopment agencies were forced to pay millions of dollars this week after a court upheld the state’s right to raid local coffers.

“The hits keep coming,” Santa Barbara RDA director Brian Bosse said.

Goleta paid $167,096 and Santa Barbara paid $1,405,129 as part of the $350 million local agencies had to pay by May 10, after the California Redevelopment Association lost its lawsuit in court.

The legal action was against AB X425, which shifted $2.05 billion away over a two-year period from RDAs to county SERAFs, or supplemental education revenue augmentation funds.

Voters approved Proposition 22 to stop the state from taking local money, but Bosse said that the initiative doesn’t work retroactively, so cities had to pay for this year’s obligation that was part of the 2009 Assembly bill.

Proposition 22 went into effect Jan. 1 and amended the California Constitution to “prohibit the state, even during a severe fiscal hardship, from redirecting certain tax revenues dedicated to transportation or local governments.”

“We had hoped for a favorable legal decision by May 10 so that we would not have to pay the SERAF, but that did not happen,” Bosse said.

Last year, Santa Barbara paid $6.8 million and Goleta paid $811,609 out of their RDA funds for their portion of the $1.7 billion in SERAFs. The county’s RDA paid $1.537 million, Santa Maria paid $460,031, Buellton paid $196,446, Lompoc paid $963,079 and Guadalupe paid $405,502.

“Ironically, Gov. Jerry Brown was the attorney general when Proposition 22 was on the ballot, so it’s his own language that shows the state can’t raid local funds,” Goleta public information officer Valerie Kushnerov said.

The California Redevelopment Association is appealing the decision.

Click here for a breakdown of last year’s SERAF obligations by city and county.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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