Four State Ballot Propositions Approved Include Money For Water, Parks
Four of five statewide ballot propositions were approved by voters Tuesday, including a $4 billion bond measure to fund parks, water quality and flood-protection projects, but voters rejected a measure to control spending of funds raised by selling greenhouse-gas-emission permits.
Voters backed Proposition 68, which provides funds for purchasing and protecting wilderness and open-space areas, and to maintain and operate local and regional parks. It also funds construction and repair of flood-control projects, provide local grants to improve access to clean drinking water and fund various other water-quality projects.
Supporters, including Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said it will help position the state to recover from droughts, wildfires, severe weather and other issues while protecting access to clean water and ensuring the availability of open space.
Opponents, including the Central Coast and Howard Jarvis taxpayers associations, questioned the viability of the funding, claiming the proposition is misleadingly billed as a parks-improvement measure. The association contends only a fraction of the money is actually earmarked for parks, and the funds would not be distributed fairly across the state.
Voters overwhelmingly favored Proposition 69, which would amend the state Constitution and require funds generated by the state's SB 1 gas tax to be spent exclusively on transportation purposes, and prohibit the money from being diverted by the Legislature for other purposes. Proponents called it a vital measure to protect the estimated $5 billion being raised annually by SB 1, while opponents claimed SB 1 already contains restrictions on spending.
Voters rejected Proposition 70, a plan to require revenue generated by the state's sale of greenhouse-gas-emission permits to be held in a reserve fund. The measure would have required a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature for any of the money to be spent. Proponents, including Gov. Jerry Brown, said the measure would prevent the funds from being diverted to politicians' "pet projects," while opponents said it would contribute to legislative gridlock and undermine the state's ability to move forward with clean-energy programs.
Proposition 71, which amends the state Constitution to state that ballot measures approved by voters in statewide elections will take effect five days after the election results are certified by the Secretary of State's Office, also scored a convincing victory in Tuesday's primary. Current law states that measures take effect the day after the election unless the measure includes a specific effective date. Proponents said the proposition ensures that all votes are counted before a measure takes effect, but opponents called it unnecessary.
Voters also approved Proposition 72, which bars an increase in property taxes related to residents' installation of rainwater-capture systems. Proponents said residents should not be penalized for making an upgrade to their property that helps the environment.