The finance authority was founded as a joint powers agency in 2004 and now has more than 150 cities that have joined to provide cover for tax-exempt financing for all kinds of capital investments: Chevron USA got $250 million for pollution controls, Christian universities Biola and Azusa Pacific each got more than $100 million, while smaller Westmont College got $65 million and Catholic Mater Dei High School $25 million.
The list goes on and on into billions of dollars in tax-exempt bonds for private corporations, hospitals, schools, affordable housing and not-so-affordable housing — all carried out by a non-government agency accountable to no one, an agency that is free to pick and choose which projects to support by its own values as long as it can find a city or county to provide cover.
That's why Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) demanded a full and complete state audit of the California Municipal Finance Authority and the much larger California Statewide Communities Development Authority, which has facilitated more than $40 billion in tax-exempt bonds since it was set up in 1988 by the League of California Cities and the California State Assn. of Counties. The audit is due next month.