This could become a year of creative financing, and not merely for the state government. Lawmakers are considering at least three bills that could change the rules for financing local infrastructure.

The most recently introduced bill, AB 1836 (Feuer), has the potential to be the most controversial. It would eliminate the requirement that two-thirds of voters approve the formation of an infrastructure financing district (IFD) and the issuing of bonds. Instead, the bill would permit the local City Council or Board of Supervisors to create the district, adopt a financing plan and issue bonds for which the district is liable. Much like a redevelopment project, an IFD can divert property tax increment for up to 30 years to pay for public works and replacement housing. Unlike a redevelopment project, an IFD may be created regardless of blight.

The other two bills remain from 2007 but appear to be very much alive. One bill is SB 934 (Lowenthal), which would permit the creation of up to 100 "housing and infrastructure zones" to be financed with property tax increment. The money would pay for infrastructure that supports infill development and for new housing. The other measure is AB 1221 (Ma), which would allow local officials to dedicate property tax increment to pay off bonds for infrastructure within transit village development districts. The Assembly passed AB 1221 last year before the measure stalled in the Senate Local Government Committee.