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Undermining the Future: Problems with November's Bond Initiatives, and Alternatives

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Publication Date: September 2006

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Adrian T. Moore; George Passantino; Adam B. Summers

Topic: Banking and finance (Public finance)
Politics (Elections and voting)

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


California needs to invest in infrastructure, but the five bond initiatives on the November ballot would authorize $42.65 billion in new debt, with annual debt service payments of $2.8 billion, and a total cost to taxpayers of approximately $84 billion, while delivering a lot of pork and little new infrastructure. The vast new debt we will vote on in November would create tremendous pressure for new taxes. There is no sign that the state's leaders will reverse course and begin managing spending as debt payments rise.

Forty-five years ago nearly 60 percent of the budget for capital projects came from general and special funds. Currently, almost all state capital improvements are financed with debt. We do not have to put up with this trend. Californians need to take a hard look at the details of the bond proposals provided here before they vote, and consider the many and realistic alternative means of meeting our infrastructure needs.