Gene Cubbison reports
Calwatchdog, the website funded by conservative interests, posts a piece criticizing the city of Ventura for what it says is "loan sharking" as a way of raising revenues.
The charge is that the city of Ventura loaned money to a local business -- the Players Casino, a card club -- at a rate that allowed the city to make money.
Call the police!
Seriously, in this day and age, why wouldn't a California city do a deal in which it could assist a local business and bring in some revenue -- since both local businesses and revenues are a bit scarce.
In this state, cities must do everything they can to bring in revenues -- because in California, local governments have few of the normal options for raising revenue.
California's budget and governing system does not allow local elected officials to raise taxes. Taxes have to be raised either in Sacramento or by local voters -- and even then supermajorities are required.
Redevelopment agencies, which were recently eliminated by the state, had become one vehicle for cities to secure money on their own. But this was problematic -- because the money didn't do much for jobs and because the money came out of funds that should go to schools.
So cities are turning to other methods of raising revenue on their own, even unconventional ones.
You want to stop loans like the one in Ventura? Permit local officials to raise taxes.
Of course, if someone proposed this, sites like Calwatchdog would be screaming about how Prop 13 -- and specifically its provisions on local taxes -- was being violated.
If you're a California city, you can't win.