California redevelopment agency advocates and critics are watching the California Supreme Court this week. The two sides in the case will present oral arguments to the court Thursday morning in San Francisco that will test the merits of a lawsuit meant to block two new laws that force redevelopment agencies to either hand over money to the state or dissolve.
“Really, the way it has been painted by both sides in this case, is that this is a very simple case,” said Stephen Ryan, a lawyer with Cox Castle & Nicholson in San Francisco. “Can we eliminate redevelopment agencies, or on the flip side, can you steal redevelopment agency money?”
The legislation, passed as part of the budget, gives the state’s 400 RDAs the choice of either paying an estimated $2.1 billion to the state over the next two years to help balance its books, or to shut down.
The California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities, along with San Jose and Union City, filed the lawsuit to block the laws at the end of July, calling them unconstitutional.