March 22, 2019
For the past two legislative sessions, state Republicans have tried to overhaul what’s called Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) that finance improvements in blighted areas.
The measures haven’t passed, but now there’s a new attempt in the Legislature that’s gaining traction.
State Rep. Chris LaMarca, a Republican from Broward County, has filed a bill that would take the power to create CRAs away from local governments and put them into the hands of voters – many of whom have never visited such blighted areas.
His proposal says that any new CRA could come into existence only by getting a two-thirds majority of voters in a county. The bill also would terminate all existing CRAs when they are scheduled to expire, or by 2039, unless the local county commission votes to maintain them by a two-thirds majority vote.
LaMarca’s proposal was approved along party lines at a House committee meeting Thursday, with all Republican members in support, and Democrats strongly against the measure.
State Representative Bobby DuBose, a Democrat from Broward County, said he didn’t like the fact that an entire county could have a say on taxes that are generated in just one part of a city.
“I think taking folks who potentially have never visited, and may never visit, and whose property doesn’t contribute to that area…and ask them to weigh in, is not in my opinion the best way to handle this,” DuBose said.