Prop 53: Voter Approval Requirement for Revenue Bonds above $2 Billion (2016)


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Sep 6, 2016 (San Diego) This is not the first attempt by Dean and Joan Cortopassi to get this to the ballot. They live in a rural area of the state and in 2014 they failed to get a similar proposal to the ballot. What it would do, is that any bond project that costs 2 or more billion dollars, would have to be approved by the voters. While $2 billion sounds like a lot of money, with the size of the budget state wide, it is not.

It partly states:

(b) Under current rules, the sale of state bonds only needs to be approved by voters if they will be repaid out of the state’s general revenues. But state politicians can sell billions of dollars of additional bond debt without ever getting the voters’ approval if the bonds will be repaid with specific revenue streams or charges imposed directly on Californians like taxes, fees, rates, tolls, or rents. The politicians should not be allowed to issue blank checks Californians have to pay for. Voters must provide prior approval for all major state bond sale decisions, because voters are the ones who ultimately pay the bill.

The goal is to slow down the money spent by the legislature. It literally will put a break on projects. Incidentally this is the main criticism of those against this measure. It will add another layer of red tape.

Ballotpedia summarizes the supporters arguments this way:

Supporters make the following arguments in support of Proposition 53:[10]
▪ Politicians and state agencies are currently allowed to borrow billions of dollars in state revenue bond debt without getting voter’s approval.
▪ Proposition 53 would hold politicians accountable and would induce them to provide accurate estimates of how much a project would cost.
▪ Proposition 53 does not impact local projects, the University of California, freeway construction, or natural disaster response

While opponents, which include Governor Jerry Brown, the Chamber of Commerce, and the State Building and Construction Trades Council state this:

▪ The proposition would impact local control and community infrastructure improvements negatively.
▪ The proposition would require a statewide vote for certain local projects.
▪ The proposition does not contain an exemption for emergencies/natural disasters.
▪ The proposition would negatively impact water supply and drought preparedness.
▪ The proposition would inhibit California’s ability to repair outdated infrastructure.
▪ The proposition would serve the interests of the multi-millionaire funding the initiative.

This proposal has some money behind it. The supporters have a archest of $4.5 billion dollars, while the opponents have a war chest of $1 billion dollars.

You can find more information at the Ballotpedia site, and here is a link to the full document.



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