April 4, 2012

California legislation would benefit renewable energy projects

Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-79th District-Calif., has introduced a bill that would allow property-tax revenue to be used to promote renewable energy projects.

The legislation, A.B.2551, would authorize a legislative body to establish an infrastructure financing district in a renewable energy zone area, as defined, for the purpose of promoting renewable energy projects. The bill would exempt the creation of the district from the voter-approval requirement.

Existing law authorizes counties and cities to form infrastructure financing districts, in accordance with a prescribed procedure, and requires that a district finance only public capital facilities of community-wide significance, as specified. In addition, existing law authorizes a legislative body, by ordinance, to adopt an infrastructure financing plan and create the district with the full force and effect of law, if 23 of the registered voters within the territory of the proposed district are in favor of creating the district.

Under the California Constitution, the legislature is prohibited, except by a 23 vote, from changing the pro rata shares in which ad valorem property-tax revenues are allocated among local agencies in a county.

Because this measure would provide property-tax revenues that would otherwise be received by affected taxing entities from incremental tax revenue of the city or county to instead be received by the newly formed infrastructure financing district, the bill would constitute a change in the pro rata share of property-tax allocations in that county and require the passage of the bill by a 23 vote.


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