18 August 2005

SB 4 amended again - more changes

Prior to a vote in the Appropriations committee, SB 4 was amended again. This time, there's a wholesale change in how the funding system works. The biggest change is the elimination of the California Public Performance Facilities Authority, the body that would have approved or rejected any stadium or venue projects that applied for funding through this new state-based process. Instead, now all approvals would go through the State Infrastructure Bank's board.

The impact is huge, in that the I-Bank's board is made up of much different characters than the Authority's would-be board. The Authority board would have been comprised of entertainment and sports industry veterans. The I-Bank's board is made up financial and policy wonks, who collectively may be less inclined to approve some of the more questionable projects than the Authority's board would have been. The net effect is that the bill's potential power in practice has been significantly reduced. In fact, the I-Bank's staff provided the following comment:
Conversely, staff at the Infrastructure Bank believe that this bill would not provide to the state any new tools from those currently available to a local government or joint powers authority seeking to finance these facilities.
Will the bill come up for a vote in the Assembly and then get signed by the Governor before the end of the short session? I'd say no, at least not in this rather neutered form.

Update (8/19): The bill was just placed in the Appropriations committee's suspense file, which means that it will be further studied because of its fiscal impact. Another vote in Appropriations is scheduled for Thursday, 8/25.