Saturday, May 12, 2018

Prop 68: CFRW recommends a NO vote

Prop Spotlight: Prop 68 - The California Parks, Environment, and Water Bond

The CFRW recommends a NO vote.

Ballot Title: Authorizes Bonds Funding Parks, Natural Resources Protection, Climate Adaptation, Water Quality and Supply, and Flood Protection

Ballot Summary:

Authorizes $4 billion in general obligation bonds for: creation and rehabilitation of state and local parks, natural resources protection projects, climate adaptation projects, water quality and supply projects, and flood protection projects.
Reallocates $100 million of unused bond authority from prior bond acts for the same purposes.
Appropriates moneys from the General Fund to pay off bonds.
Requires non-state matching funds for certain projects and favors disadvantaged communities for certain projects.
Requires annual audits
Background

This proposition began as SB 5 (De Leon, D) in 2016. It passed along party lines in the Senate, but was amended in the Assembly to raise the price from $3.8 billion to $4 billion, earning three Republican votes as it passed there 56-21. There are two types of bonds that we, as Californians, vote on: general obligation bonds and revenue bonds. Prop 68 is a general obligation bond. This means that the bond is sold to investors as taxpayer pays back the bond over many years, in this prop's case, 30 years. Accoring to our state's constitution, any bond issued over $300,000 must be placed on a statewide ballot to go before voters. Since 1993 when that law came into place, 39 general obligation bonds have been on our ballots. Of those, 31 of them were passed by our voters. An even more shocking statistic, just 6 of those 39 general obligation bonds were citizen-driven bonds. A total of 33 general obligation bonds, since 1993, have been put on our ballots by our legislature. The most common bonds are water and education bonds- 7 each have appeared since 1993. California has $73.33 billion in outstanding general obligation bond debt. Perhaps worse, we have $31.9 billion in unissued bonds that the voters have passed.

Talking Points

  • Prop 68 is deceptive. What is billed as a $4 billion bond will really cost us closer to $7 billion. This means higher taxes so that a few coastal politicians can divvy out our money for pet projects. The money issued here is not even fairly divided among Californians so that all could see local park improvements.
  • The authors of this prop would have you believe the funding is necessary for drought and groundwater investment. But only 13% of this proposition's funds would be allocated for that purpose. The rest would be doled out for conservation grants with little left over for necessary deferred maintenance.
  • With a 3.5% interest rate over 30 years, our politicians are passing the buck on this bond. At least $2.53 billion in interest will accumulate, bringing the total cost of this bond to $6.53 billion.
  • Currently our state has unfunded pension liablities costs that are rising. Our public school borrowed debt is $500 million a year, retiree medical pension liability is at $91 billion, and affordable housing debt is at $169 million a year. Why are we throwing more debt onto the pile?
  • We need to ask ourselves two simple questions: 1. How effective have past bond measures been (particularly our 2014 water bond)? and 2. Do we really need to add to our state's debt?
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Official CFRW Positions

  • Prop 68: NO
  • Prop 69: NO
  • Prop 70: NO
  • Prop 71: YES
  • Prop 72: YES
June Ballot Measures

Proposition 68: California Parks, Environment, and Water Bond- would issue a $4 billion general obligation bond, with a 3.5% interest rate over 30 years, bringing the bill to the taxpayers up to $6.4 billion total. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 69: Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment- states that Senate Bill 1 revenue from diesel taxes will be placed in a “lockbox” and used only for transportation fund purposes. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 70: Vote Requirement to Use Cap and Trade Funds Amendment- would require a one-time vote in 2024 by a 2/3rds legislative majority to allocate state Cap and Trade program revenue. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 71: Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment- changes the date for when voter approved ballot measures take effect from the day after the election to the fifth day after the Secretary of State certifies the election. The CFRW says vote YES.

Proposition 72: Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessment- would exclude any new rainwater capture structures from property value tax reassessment from counting as a new structure. The CFRW says vote YES.

If you would like ALL the talking points for each proposition, please email our Advocate at advocate@cfrw.org.
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