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Cities Left With Mixed Emotions After Legislative Session

C.M. Keiner, Flickr

The skyline of Sacramento.

C.M. Keiner, Flickr

Years of budget cuts at the state level have taken a toll on cities and counties. And that has strained their relationship with the state government. Dan Carrigg is with the League of California Cities.

“It’s been a difficult run here for cities over the last couple of years,” he said. “Not only with their own budgets, but obviously with the loss of redevelopment.”

Cities used redevelopment agencies to fund local developments project. But the agencies were eliminated by the state two years ago. A bill to create similar agencies stalled in the legislature this session. Carrigg said cities are ready to move forward on the issue, but it appears the state isn’t.

He said some helpful economic development bills have made it to the governor’s desk. But the passage of a measure requiring charter cities to pay prevailing wages on public construction projects, or lose state money, is a concern.

“We really think the mechanism of withholding all money from cities is a dangerous precedent and that it would be used in other cases,” Carrigg said. “So we’re really concerned about the tactic.”

If charter cities choose to pay prevailing wages, Carrigg says that’s their right. But he said the state shouldn’t have the power to force them.

The bill is currently on the governor’s desk. The League is hoping for a veto.