This month, as hundreds of bills pile up on Gov. Brown’s desk and patiently await his signature, California continues to slide further into debt. Sacramento politicians have managed to put California more than $330 billion in debt and want to keep the party going — racking up more debt on our account.
As a taxpayer advocate and president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association, I am tired of this careless spending and lack of accountability. I am even more concerned about our ever-growing debt and the burden it will place on future generations. Sadly, it is all too easy for many politicians to charge today’s expenses on future generations’ credit card. For them, if the debt is out of sight and for other people to pay, then it is out of mind.
That is why the Central Coast Taxpayers Association (CCTA) endorses Proposition 53, often referred to as the Stop Blank Checks initiative, that will be on the November ballot. This common sense initiative simply requires a public vote on state megaprojects that would use more than $2 billion in state revenue bonds. It puts a necessary check on California’s debt and stops politicians and state bureaucrats from issuing billions in debt for us to pay without first giving us a voice.
We can all agree our state has bitten off more than it can chew through perpetual overspending and reckless borrowing. But by just giving Californians the right to vote on the state’s biggest revenue bond projects, Proposition 53 will help bring transparency to California’s debt situation by ensuring voters see the total cost of the project and a nonpartisan fiscal analysis before they cast their vote. Further, by subjecting these massive, multibillion-dollar state megaprojects to voter scrutiny, we can hold politicians accountable to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.
At the moment, California requires voter approval for all other state bonds — like school and water bonds — except for state revenue bonds. To no surprise, it did not take long for Sacramento politicians and state bureaucrats to discover and exploit this loophole that is in California’s Constitution. Increasingly, they have been using state revenue bonds to avoid a public vote and tiptoe their way around the voters. Proposition 53 simply stops blank checks by requiring voter approval before issuing billions in state revenue bonds.
It makes sense that voters should have a voice when it comes to California’s largest revenue bond projects because millions of us have to pay — either through higher water rates, electricity fees or commute costs for unavoidable everyday necessities.
Plus, if these huge state revenue bond projects did not pan out and they are faced with default, all California taxpayers would be forced to step in and foot the bill or the state could take a hit to its credit rating. It has happened to numerous cities and states throughout the nation. Just because California is special doesn’t mean it is “too big to fail.” It can happen here, too.
Please join me in voting for Proposition 53 in November. This initiative is the first step in tackling our debt, holding politicians accountable, promoting a more transparent government and giving the forgotten taxpayers a voice when it comes to California’s biggest projects.
Andrea Seastrand is president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association. She is a former member of the state Assembly and served two years in the U.S. House of Representatives. For more information on Proposition 53, visit www.YESon53.com.