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Reason Foundation

Will CA never learn from water bond foolishness?

Adrian Moore
August 4, 2008, 9:50am

Gov. Schwarzenegger is pushing for $9.3 billion water bond to be on CA's November ballot. At least one legislator is threating to hold up the state budget unless the bond goes on the ballot. There are a few reason why a new water bond would be folly. Less than 2 years ago Parra supported and CA voters approved Props 1E and 84, together authorizing $9.5 billion in "water bonds." Allegedly this money was to be used for California's aging system of levees, overflow weirs, and channels and numerous water, conservation and environmental programs. Approximately $3 billion of this total is supposed to be dedicated to the state Central Valley Flood Control System. Reason predicted it would be a bad deal. And yep, so far only a small fraction of those funds have been spent. In the 10 years before 2006, voters had approved $11 billion in water bonds. Yet the system remained in a shambles and the Fed's pointed out the state consistently spent on low priority projects rather than high priority ones. Californian's should demand that first we have a balanced state budget and wisely spend some of the existing water bond funds before we go digging our debt grand canyon even deeper. More important, they should demand some oversight on how all the $20 billion in water bonds in the last 12 years has been spent and why we still have the problems we do.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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