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Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, Watershed
Protection, and Flood Protection Bond Act.
Argument Against Proposition 13

Arguments on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

This is NOT Proposition 13, the legendary 1978 initiative to cut property taxes. This Proposition 13 will cost taxpayers a lot of money.

In an orgy of spending, California legislators passed an $81 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2000. That's up from $63 billion just four years ago. There was a $4 billion budget surplus this year. That money should have been refunded to taxpayers. Each family could have received over $330 to spend as they chose. But instead, most legislators--Democrat and Republican alike--decided to spend this money on new government programs.

What does this have to do with Proposition 13? If legislators had an extra $4 billion, why didn't they spend some of it on these projects?

No, they couldn't do that. They had to spend it immediately. Now if voters say "yes" on Proposition 13, these water proposals won't just cost $1.9 billion. BONDS ALMOST DOUBLE THE COST OF ANY GOVERNMENT PROJECT. Taxpayers will have to pay the interest on these bonds for the next 30 years. At the end, we'll be out about $3.5 billion.

This proposal would have cost a lot less if it came out of the current budget. But do we need these projects at all?

If you read the fine print, Proposition 13 looks a lot like the "pork barrel" projects the Legislature has passed for years. There's something for just about everyone (everyone who gives a campaign contribution, that is). Here and there a project may be worthwhile, but voters have no way of judging, with so many projects jumbled into the same law.

Of course, some towns benefit from having a powerful legislator. Proposition 13 specifies $30.5 million for water treatment plants in Manteca, Stockton, Tracy and Orange Cove, three of which are in the district of Assemblyman Machado, the author of this proposition.

Indeed, since so many local projects are involved, it would seem sensible for people in those communities to decide if they need them, and then determine how to finance them. The lowest cost would be to promote private investment rather than government spending.

Proposition 13 claims it will provide Californians with safe drinking water, flood protection, watershed protection, river habitat protection, water conservation, etc. When has the government ever succeeded in doing any of those things? Most often we hear about government policies CAUSING groundwater contamination, DAMAGING wildlife habitats, and other blunders.

The proposition states that lands acquired with Proposition 13 funds "shall be from a willing seller." We hope this is the case. But too often governments force people to sell their land by use of eminent domain and court-ordered condemnation. Will government officials keep their word?

Send a message to legislators. They should be punished for squandering a hefty budget surplus, instead of refunding it to taxpayers, or even spending it directly on these projects. Please vote NO on Proposition 13.
Past Chair, Libertarian Party of California

Calaveras County Supervisor

Insurance Adjuster/Investigator

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