Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rifkin is wrong about RDAs

From page A8 | October 24, 2013 |

Rich Rifkin’s column last Wednesday is replete with non-facts, false accusations and demonstrated lack of knowledge.

Yes, the Davis City Council did vote in 2011 to issue $18 million in bonds, fully aware that the California Legislature had been for weeks (it was in all the papers) planning to abolish redevelopment agencies. So the council, acting “as swiftly as possible, worried that an RDA without funds would be forced out of business,” issued the bonds in the face of known legislative action.

The dissolution of California’s RDA program was not sought by California Teachers Association; rather, it was sought by the governor’s Department of Finance and the Legislature in an attempt to balance the state’s budget, not just for the 2011-12 fiscal year, but for the foreseeable future.

Why? Well because when RDAs were formed, as Rifkin reports, the base property tax revenue to all property tax-reliant agencies (schools, county government, special districts) was frozen at the pre-RDA value; the RDA got the increment increase to invest in economic development. As Rifkin reports, the loss of property tax assessed value in Davis for those agencies did drop considerably.

Rifkin doesn’t report that on statewide average, 52 percent of every property tax dollar goes to K-14 public education in California. Since the implementation of the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, the state general fund guarantees K-14 education funding.

So what isn’t reported by Rifkin is that the state general fund picks up the tab for almost $7 million in property tax revenue shortfall directly related to the RDA and tax increment. If the property tax revenue for the Davis school district does not meet the minimum funding level, the state picks up the difference. So the CTA doesn’t worry about property tax revenue, it worries about the general fund’s ability to guarantee minimum funding.

And Rifkin is dead wrong about no other local bodies being “shortchanged.” The state does not guarantee Yolo County or any special district a dime of property tax revenue shortfall.

The teachers’ unions have never been “mad as hell about the backfilling.” In fact, they took care of education funding with Proposition 98. During the recent economic downturn, Davis schools received their guaranteed revenue; Yolo County, the city of Davis and all special districts did not. Ask the Davis city employees who were furloughed.

I don’t doubt that the city manager told the council that “all of the money is going to bond investors at high interest rates.” That’s the choice the council made on Feb. 22, 2011.

If Steve Pinkerton is quoted correctly saying, “the (California Teachers’ Association) won’t let Governor Brown change the law,” he needs to study how laws are made. Gov. Brown did not abolish redevelopment agencies; the California Legislature voted to do so and Brown concurred. And if a Democratic legislator told Rifkin that the teachers were pushing Brown to abolish the RDAs, the legislator, in my opinion, was wrong but most definitely had a responsibility to warn against the action taken by the council.

Don’t blame the teachers and don’t blame the governor for unkept Davis City Council promises, blame the council for a serious miscalculation. Rather than writing misleading, finger-pointing columns, Rifkin’s time would be better spent investigating the facts and talking with the Democratic legislator who confided in 2011 about introducing legislation to address the problem facing our community.

Rifkin’s responsibility is to factually present his argument with which I may or may not agree, but he has a responsibility to the readers of The Davis Enterprise to be factual. The venue to engage in factual debate to address and resolve the issue is the California Legislature.

P.S. I’m not related to Captain Cook and I will not be making a third trip to Hawaii.

— Gregg Cook is a Davis resident.



Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5



    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11



    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10







    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery





    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8