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Which Last-Minute Bond Measures Will Make California's November Ballot?
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By CalMatters
Published 3 weeks ago on
June 25, 2024

School backers are pushing a $14 billion bill for the November ballot that would be California’s largest school construction bond in decades. (GV Wire File)

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The most recent measure to let the state borrow billions barely passed in March. In a poll out this month, nearly two-thirds of Californians said it’s a bad time to issue more IOUs.

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Lynn La

CalMatters

But that isn’t stopping supporters of climate action and school construction from trying to get bond issues on the November ballot — and they say by waiving state election law, they have a little more time than Thursday’s deadline for other ballot measures.

  • Senate leader Mike McGuire, in a Monday statement: “We’ve been working like hell on the issue of bonds, and we’re in the home stretch. We do have a little bit of wiggle room — bond measures can be added to the November ballot until July 3. We are working with the Secretary of State and Legislative Counsel to ensure we meet the July 3 deadline.”

School backers are pushing a $14 billion bill that would be California’s largest school construction bond in decades. If voters approve, the bond would pay for new roofs, upgraded electrical systems and other repairs at long-neglected schools in mostly rural and low-income areas where passing local bond issues is nearly impossible.

The school bond may be competing for remaining state borrowing capacity, in part, with a proposed climate bond issue. This proposal started at $15.5 billion last year, but has been reduced significantly. Environmental advocates, disappointed by some cuts in the budget deal announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders over the weekend, are now pinning their hopes on this bond issue.

  • Katelyn Roedner Sutter, California state director for the Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement: “California needs a climate bond now to balance our investment in proven climate solutions with the scope of the threats we face from extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and pollution. It is imperative that ongoing negotiations result in a climate bond so Californians can vote to boost climate action.”

But Newsom, who championed Proposition 1, the mental health measure that included $6.4 billion in bonds, has acknowledged that the close call for Prop. 1 has “sobered” conversations about how much voters are willing to borrow.

“They deserve results and they demand results,” he told reporters in May. “And so when we’re out there promoting these bonds, we need to be mindful of that.”

In other ballot measure news:

    • Public safety: Legislative leaders aren’t talking about it publicly, but KCRA reports they may push through a measure to compete with one already on the Nov. 5 ballot to overhaul Prop. 47 (passed by voters in 2014) and increase punishments for retail theft and drug traffickers.

About the Author

Lynn La is the newsletter writer for CalMatters, focusing on California’s top political, policy and Capitol stories every weekday. She produces and curates WhatMatters, CalMatters’ flagship daily newsletter with more than 150,000 subscribers. Lynn is based in the Bay Area. She graduated from UC Davis and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.   

About CalMatters

CalMatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom committed to explaining California policy and politics.

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