Reed proposes stimulus plan for San Jose

December 1, 2008 8:26:26 PM PST
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed today announced a proposed economic stimulus plan aimed at encouraging and creating new development, jobs, private investment and tax revenues.

"We have many opportunities to swim against the national tide and we need to take advantage of each of those opportunities to try to do as best we can in these very difficult economic times," Reed said at a noon news conference at City Hall.

Within the plan, as part of the proposed Redevelopment Agency's $259 million 2008-09 capital budget, Reed offers recommendations to build the city's economic base.

Those include speeding up permitting and other processes to make opening a business easier.

The mayor also suggested the city review private sector projects in the downtown, neighborhood business and business cluster areas to find and remove roadblocks that could impede the projects from moving forward.

The city should also work with clean-tech companies that want to expand and add jobs, Reed said. An expansion of the San Jose BioCenter is recommended, along with the creation of a Clean Tech Jobs Investment Fund to attract new companies.

Reed also suggests using additional Redevelopment Agency funding to accelerate housing projects to create construction jobs, to help residents buy homes, and to upgrade parts of the downtown including the McEnery Convetion Center, according to the mayor's office.

"San Jose needs to ensure that we remain and expand the center of creativity and innovation," Councilwoman Nancy Pyle said. "The economic stimulus plan will help San Jose to not only attract but also to retain driving industries."

The plan also suggests partnering with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in key areas to create incentive zones and help expand the city's "Clean and Green" message, she added.

Reed proposed reducing the Redevelopment Agency's five-year Capital Improvement Program to a two-year spending plan given economic uncertainties.

"We are very concerned about next year and the following year, so what I have recommended is that we really focus on trying (with the) two-year capital budget, not a five-year budget, due to the big uncertainties," Reed said.

Reed cited uncertainties including levels of state funding and revenue from sales and property tax.

The City Council, which acts as the Redevelopment Agency's board, will vote Dec. 9 on the redevelopment capital budget, according to the mayor's office.


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