Friday, May 6, 2011

This good idea comes from California,

...but only because it undoes a really bad idea: Governor Jerry Brown has proposed eliminating California’s approximately 400 redevelopment agencies (RDAs).

California’s redevelopment agencies got their start in 1945, ... as a way to jump-start development in impoverished inner cities. Today, many urbanists recall these projects as a national travesty, a failed experiment in top-heavy government and liberal social engineering that obliterated neighborhoods, eroded property rights, gave developers downtown land on the cheap, uprooted city dwellers, and exacerbated urban problems.

To add insult to injury, these "shadow governments" consume 12% of local property taxes,

diverting billions of dollars from traditional services, such as schools, parks, and firefighting; use eminent domain to seize property for favored developers; and run up California’s debt to pay those developers to construct projects of dubious public value, such as stadiums and big-box stores.

The article is a fascinating read in how central planning and subsidies can do so much harm.

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