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Proposition 3 - $8.9 Billion in Bonds for Water and Environmental Projects

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General Election, November 06, 2018

Overview:

The state mainly uses general obligation bonds and the state General Fund to pay for water and environmental projects.  Since 2000, voters have approved approximately $31 in general obligation bonds in statewide elections to fund different types of water and environmental projects.  Of this amount, roughly one-third was still available for new projects as of June 2018.  This includes $4 billion that was approved by voters with the passage of Proposition 68 in June 2018.

This proposition authorizes $8.9 billion in new general obligation bonds for the various water and environmental projects including: watershed lands ($2.5 billion), water supply ($2.1 billion), fish and wildlife habitat ($1.4 billion), water facility upgrades ($1.2 billion), groundwater ($1.1 billion), and flood protection ($500 million).

Proposition 3 has several requirements to help disadvantaged communities and, for a few spending subcategories, the proposition requires that funding be spent on projects that benefit these communities.

A YES vote on Proposition 3 means the state could sell $8.9 billion in general obligation bonds to fund various water and environmental projects.

A NO vote on Proposition 3 means the state could not sell such bonds.

Fiscal Impact:

According to the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO), Proposition 3 would result in increased state bond repayment costs averaging about $430 million annually over the next 40 years.  LAO estimates savings to local governments, likely averaging a couple hundred million dollars annually over the next few decades.

CCC Position:

No position.

Reflections on Church Teaching:

“All people have a right to safe drinking water. This is a basic human right and a central issue in today’s world (cf. Laudato Si’, 30; Caritas in Veritate, 27). This is a problem that affects everyone and is a source of great suffering in our common home. It also cries out for practical solutions capable of surmounting the selfish concerns that prevent everyone from exercising this fundamental right.” – Pope Francis, Address to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 2017

"The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.  If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all. If we do not, we burden our consciences with the weight of having denied the existence of others."  Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si : On Care for our Common Home (May 2015).

“The "principle of subsidiarity" must be respected: "A community of a higher order should not interfere with the life of a community of a lower order, taking over its functions." In case of need it should, rather, support the smaller community and help to coordinate its activity with activities in the rest of society for the sake of the common good.” —Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, #48 (1989)

“Another instrument of political participation is the referendum, whereby a form of direct access to political decisions is practiced. The institution of representation in fact does not exclude the possibility of asking citizens directly about the decisions of great importance for social life.”  Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church [413]