Start now to defeat $20 billion in wasteful bonds advanced by the Legislature – Orange County Register

Last March 5, voters barely approvedProposition 1, the $6.4 billion homeless bond, 50.18% to 49.82%. Despite that, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature have now put two new bonds, totaling $20 billion, on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Proposition 2 is $10 billion in bonds to upgrade K-12 and community college facilities.Proposition 4 is another $10 billion in bonds to deal with “severe climate change-related events.”

California’s financial shape isn’t good enough to support more statewide bonds. Only last week Newsom and the Legislaturefinished whittling down the state’s original $73 billion deficit for fiscal year 2024-25 – two weeks after the June 15 constitutional deadline to pass a budget. And on June 26 the governordeclared a fiscal emergency, allowing state reserves to be tapped.

On the new bonds, the Legislative Analyst’s Office soon will produce a financial analysis. But matters have not changed much from itsanalysis earlier this year of Prop. 1, which found the cost to pay off the $6.4 billion bond over 30 years would be $310 million annually. Using the same math, the $20 billion for the new education and climate bonds would cost $937.5 million a year from the general fund. That means it would just make the current fiscal emergency worse. Over time, the bonds will waste billions of dollars that could’ve gone toward productive uses and instead go toward paying off bond interest.

On the education bond, the legislativeFloor Report on the new state budget listed 2024-25 per pupil spending at $24,313 for all funds. For a class of 30, that’s $729,390. One class. Yet test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress continue to be dismal.

For example, for4th graders in 2022, the last year available, just 30% ranked proficient or advanced. That was a drop from 34% in 2019. Much of that decline stemmed from the severe lockdowns Newsom and local schools mistakenly imposed during the 2020 COVID pandemic. It makes no sense to shovel more money to a system failing its students. No wonder in 2020 voters turned downProposition 13, a similar school bond for $15 billion, with 53% voting against it.

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