Sacramento, CA — California lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on how to trim down a water bond scheduled to be on the November ballot.
Over four years ago, California lawmakers approved an $11.1 billion water bond, under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, with plans to put it on the ballot. However, lawmakers have now twice delayed the bond measure over fears that it contains too much government pork to gain voter approval. Governor Jerry Brown has also been hesitant to support the plan over fears that it creates too much additional debt. Lawmakers have been in negotiations for several weeks in hopes of scaling down the bond and reducing the overall spending, but the summer recess period started yesterday, and no new bond has been approved. Shortly before the session ended, Senate Democrats introduced a roughly $7.5 billion plan, but it remains to be seen if it will gain any traction. The Associated Press reports that Republicans are standing firm on the need for new dams and storage projects, Los Angeles area lawmakers favor more groundwater contamination cleanup, and environmentalists are pushing for new wildlife and conservation projects. Trying to reduce costs, but also keeping everyone happy, has created several roadblocks. Leading lawmakers note that the 2009 water bond took about six years to hash out all the details.
As it stands right now, the $11.1 billion bond will go on the ballot in November. However, lawmakers still have until mid-August to alter the plan or find an alternative.