An act to be voted on during the November 2002 elections would provide $13.05 billion worth of bonds to be sold for the use of California’s Kindergarten through University facilities, costing the State of California $26.2 billion over a 30 year period of repayment. This act, Proposition 47, would provide $746 million to be divided between California’s 108 Community College Campuses. These funds could be used for such things as upgrading college libraries, laboratories and research facilities that supporters believe will better pave the way for new innovations in technologies and industries.
Supporters of Proposition 47 feel that it is has been a long awaited measure needed to bring the California school system up to par with the rest of the nation. Supporters include members of the California Teacher’s Association; Jan Harp Domene, President of the California State PTA; Allan Zaremberg, President of the California Chamber of Commerce; and Larry McCarthy, President of the California Taxpayers Association.
One reason that this measure is popular with taxpayer associations is that it provides for audits, cost controls and accountability that would require those in management of the funds to justify every penny that was spent. Many supporters also feel that by investing money in the education system, we will see the benefits year after year. The California Chamber of Commerce said that they supported the proposition because “it invests in the future of our economy and workforce.”
However, many critics of the measure feel that despite how well intentioned it many seem, Proposition 47 is simply too costly for an all ready highly indebted California. Last summer the California State Budget faced a $2.4 billion deficit, one-reason critics such as Edward J. Costa, Chairman of the California Taxpayers Coalition, take issue with the proposed measure.
In a “Rebuttal to Argument in Favor to Proposition 47” critics of the proposal said “Recently, a group of 30 Taxpayer Organizations from various parts of the state… unanimously voted to oppose Proposition 47 for one main reason- California currently has too much debt on the books”
In the same rebuttal it was also mentioned that beginning in 1985 California has sold $500 billion in bonds, and suggested that California’s record keeping is “far worse than the Enron or WorldCom scandals.”
Proposition 47 has already been voted upon by the California State Legislature. Of the State Assembly, 71 members were in support of the measure with only 8 in opposition. Of the State Senate, 27 members were in support and 11 opposed. The measure goes before the public in the California State General Elections on November 5.