Press Release | SCVNews.com
State Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, co-chaired a joint hearing Tuesday on the water bond proposal set to go before voters next year. “Overview of California’s Debt Condition: Priming the Pump for a Water Bond” was a joint hearing between the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, chaired by Pavley, and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis).
At the outset, Pavley brought up one central question: “Is there a limit, fiscally speaking, that we should be spending on a water bond?”
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She added, “It seems appropriate that we look at our bond capacity and pressures on the general fund.”
The hearing sought to bring some context to the question of whether the Legislature should go forward with their plan to place an $11.1 billion water bond before voters next year, or if California should go with a smaller proposal. Pavley has submitted SB 40, designed to reduce and refocuses that bond of the state’s most pressing water needs.
The committees received testimony from representative of the State Treasurer’s Office and the Legislative Analyst’s Office on the state debt levels. Ellen Hanak with the Public Policy Institute of California testified about the state’s various water needs and how well they have been met.
Pavley also sought to use the hearing to determine what might be the best bond financing strategies for the state, and if there are mechanisms besides bond funding that could be used. The Senator is a longtime proponent of the “user pays” model for water projects.
Finally, Pavley questions how the state could use bond money to incentivize local government and business to engage in water conservation and better storm water management. This is something California has been very successful at in the past, as shown by the fact that Californians’ per capita water use dropped by half between 1967 and 2005, according to the PPIC.
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