SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – California’s controller, John Chiang, has waded into the debate over whether to use local redevelopment money to help balance the state’s budget.

Chiang has launched a review of 18 redevelopment agencies to determine whether taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

As Gov. Jerry Brown covets billions of dollars in redevelopment money and the agencies fight to keep it for local projects, Chiang said he would conduct the review of nearly two dozen agencies, including those in San Jose, Fremont, Richmond, Pittsburg and Hercules.

“We’re going to look at, in fact, what they’re actually spending their money on,” Chiang summed up his plan.

He was curious to see whether the agencies were really engines of economic growth, or if they were scams providing windfalls to political cronies.

“We want to make sure that they are transferring the money that they’re required to do to schools, to cities, to counties, also to make sure that they’re going to spend 20% of their funding for low and moderate income housing.”

Chiang also planned to find out how much they pay their staff.

Redevelopment agencies from Los Angeles to Fresno, to tiny Anderson in Shasta County would also be audited.

“We wanted to make sure we had sufficient diversity,” he explained.

His goal is to deliver a report before the March deadline for the legislature to put a budget and tax measure on a June special election ballot.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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