California has joined Arizona in selling state buildings to the private sector which they then lease back in order to inject cash into the state’s treasury today. The state believes the move will raise some $2 billion in cash:
As the California economy roared in the 1990s and tax revenues poured into a treasury overseen by Gov. Pete Wilson, the state laid plans for a series of new office buildings in Sacramento to spare itself from paying rent to other landlords.
Barely a decade later, the Schwarzenegger administration is launching a process to sell many of the same buildings that were originally touted as long-term money savers for taxpayers. The goal today is more immediate: pay off debt and steer cash into the state’s depleted general fund. It’s among a variety of short-term crisis solutions that include selling surplus state property, moves also being undertaken in cash-strapped Arizona.
In California, 11 state-owned sites with an estimated value of almost $2 billion will be listed for sale in early 2010 to pay off about $1.4 billion in bonds and net another $600 million “to support other critical state government programs,” said state Department of General Services spokesman Eric Lamoureux.
The state wouldn’t move out of the buildings; it would continue to lease them from the new owners.