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Redevelopment Takes From Poor, Aids Rich

August 30, 1992

The article by Dan Akst "Taking From Locals, Giving to Developers" (Aug. 18) points out how government takes from the poor and gives to the rich through redevelopment.

Blighted areas are denied public works, housing, federal grants, public subsidies, low-interest loans, so cities can then take control of land by setting up urban renewal programs under California redevelopment law.

Since increased property taxes in redevelopment areas go to the redevelopment agency for a period of 30 years and more, the diversion of these taxes must be made up by new taxes.

Sales taxes generated by new business are merely transferred from small businesses down the street or from neighboring cities.

Redevelopment agencies in California owe nearly $20 billion in public debt, according to the state controller. None of this debt was used to maintain schools, police, fire, paramedics, infrastructure, streets or trash collection. And none of the property taxes to repay this debt go to such services.

The Los Angeles California Redevelopment Agency will collect $135 million in property taxes this year. Its annual budget is $400 million and its annual cost for administration, professional fees and salaries is $32 million.

This awesome power by a select few to transfer ownership of land to developers and use the taxes to take more land tempts even the most honorable and fiscally minded politicians and developers.

One begins to wonder who the beneficiaries really are.

DON LIPPMAN

Los Angeles

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