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Capitol Update Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Allison Olson, CFRW Advocate

Capitol Update
Tuesday, March 03, 2020

California Federation of Republican Women
Sue Blair, President

The Primary Election is TODAY! 

Today is Super Tuesday, March 3rd, the California Primary Election, and there is STILL TIME to educate voters! There is even still time to register Republicans! California’s new election law allows voters to register and vote on election day! Many of our members are out in the trenches today, working hard to get Republicans elected. If you have not turned in your mail-in ballot yet, you can return it to your local voting center or polling place TODAY! Find your local polling place HERE

There is also still time to educate voters on the one state-wide ballot measure appearing on our ballots, Prop 13. There has been much confusion on this proposition, given that it shares the same number as the 1978 Prop 13. Many voters have been tricked into voting YES on this March ballot’s Prop 13. The CFRW recommends NO on Prop 13! This current Prop 13 is a $15 billion school facilities bond, and the legislative Democrats who put the measure on the ballot have once again thrived on the misinformation and deliberate confusion of this measure. Below is the CFRW’s NO position rationale and talking points you can still use to educate voters TODAY! This has appeared in the Capitol Update since the first week of February. You can also access the rationale HERE and the Talking Points HERE


Ballot Title: Authorizes Bonds for Facility Repair, Construction, and Modernization at Public Preschools, K–12 Schools, Community Colleges, and Universities. Legislative Statute. 

Ballot Summary: Authorizes $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for public education facilities: $9 billion for preschools and K–12 (includes $5.2 billion for modernization, $2.8 billion for new construction, $500 million for charter schools, and $500 million for career technical education); $6 billion for public universities and community colleges. Projects will improve facilities’ health/safety conditions (including earthquake/fire safety and removing lead from water) and increase affordable student housing. Limits administrative costs to 5%. Appropriates money from General Fund to repay bonds 

Fiscal Impact: Principle bond of $15 billion. Interest on principle $11 billion. Paid over approximately 35 years. $740 million annually out of General Fund tax revenue.  

Our OPPOSITION Rationale: Since 1993, Californians have voted on 43 bond issues, totaling $173 billion dollars. They have passed 37 of them, costing the state $151 billion. Of these 43, only eight measures were citizen-driven initiatives. Of those 8, five were passed by the voters. Congruently, the legislature has referred 35 bond measures to the ballot and of those 35, 27 have been approved by the voters. In the past 18 years, the voters have passed 4 school facilities bonds for the building, maintaining, repairing, and retrofitting of California public schools. This comes out to $45 billion in school facilities bonds alone. There is still $7.8 billion in unallocated and unsold school facilities bonds outstanding. Furthermore, taxpayers pay $2.9 billion a year on previously sold school facilities bonds. After learning all this, do we think we really need another school facilities bond? Voters and taxpayers do not understand the short-term and long-term consequences of general obligation bonds. In our state, we have two types of bonds: general obligation bonds and revenue bonds. General obligation bonds are the most common, and they are paid back by the taxpayers out of our general budget. Revenue bonds are repaid by the monies collected upfront by usage, such as a toll bridge or a registration fee. Our state currently has close to $90 billion in bond debt. On average, the state pays $6 billion a year out of our general fund to pay down this astronomical bond debt. When we are paying that among every year out of our general fund, that leaves less money for other programs and services. And when there is less money for that, what do our Sacramento Democrats want to do? Raise our taxes.  

Another staggering fact is that we have over $43 billion in unused bond monies. Yet Democrats ask nearly every election now for more bonds to be passed. Why not use that unallocated bond money first? To ask for $15 billion in a new schools facilities bond is brazen, to say the least unwise, since we already have $7.8 billion in unused school facilities bond money right now that could be used. Each election the legislative Democrats make their bond asks higher and higher. It was only an election or two ago that asking for $4 billion in bonds was the highest in state history. Now they put almost quadruple that amount on the ballot without the blink of an eye.  

Finally, buried deep within Prop 13- The $15 Billion Schools Facilities Bond, is language that would allow school districts to borrow more money from the state. This might be seemingly innocuous, but currently there is a cap on how much school districts can borrow, thereby protecting our property taxes that are tied to school district funding. This bond measure would allow school districts to double the amount they are allowed to borrow. This means that property taxes will inevitably need to rise in order to pay for this increase in debt from the school districts. Right now, property owners have a small protection in that there is a limit on how much school districts can borrow. Prop 13- The Schools Facilities Bond, would double that limit. 

Voters have to send a message to Sacramento that enough is enough. We must demand more transparency and accountability from our legislators. Say NO on Prop 13- The Schools Facilities Bond!  

NO on March Primary PROP 13 Talking Points 
The California Federation of Republican Women OPPOSE the March Primary Ballot Measure, Prop 13. We urge voters to VOTE NO on Prop 13. This Prop 13 is a $15 billion school facilities bond which would raise local school district’s borrowing capacity, which in turn raises YOUR property taxes. This general obligation bond adds to our state’s $90 billion bond debt, increasing our yearly debt interest that must be paid out of our state’s General Fund. Finally, Prop 13 favors school districts who use Project Labor Agreements, which ultimately cost the taxpayer more and encourages school districts to be poor stewards of our tax dollars.  
Fast Facts Talking Points  
– This is not the same Prop 13 that protects our property taxes, but this Prop 13 could RAISE your property taxes if passed. This $15 billion school facilities bond has language buried deep within the measure that allows school districts to borrow more money from the state- almost double what they can borrow currently by law. This debt increase will raise YOUR property taxes, because these types of local school bonds must be paid back by local property taxes. It shows up on your property tax bill as “Voted Indebtedness”.  
– This is a general obligation bond. That means that California taxpayers pay it back over 30 years. With the $27 billion in interest this bond will generate, Prop 13 will cost the taxpayers $740 million a year from the General Fund. Bond debt must be paid back before other General Fund programs get funded, meaning there is less money for law enforcement, social services, and other government funded programs.  
– If passed, Prop 13 gives funding priority to school districts who use Project Labor Agreements, or PLAs. Union construction bids are often, if not always, higher and more costly than non-union bids. Yet Prop 13 would give them an edge up, which is an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.  
– The state already has $7.8 billion in unsold, unused school facilities bond monies, already allocated for the construction, upgrades, and retrofitting of California schools. Shouldn’t we use that bond money first? 
– California has $90 billion in bond debt. We pay back $6 billion a year to settle our debt from our General Fund. Do we really need to add to that? Have all other options or solutions been exhausted? We think not. 

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