No on 53: Voter approval for revenue bond projects

Propositions-53
Crystal Zhong/Staff

Proposition 53 would require voter approval for any revenue bond project that exceeds $2 billion and seems to directly go after Gov. Jerry Brown’s two pet projects — the high-speed rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles and the twin water tunnels between the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.

While the more common general obligation bonds are repaid through the California state general fund, less common revenue bonds are repaid by the users of projects they support.

The problem with Proposition 53 is that it would give all voters jurisdiction over revenue bonds that only certain voters will repay. For example, it might not make sense for the entire state of California to take part in a decision that affects only those who will benefit from the twin water tunnels, particularly when only those who use the water will be responsible for paying back the money anyway.

Already, general elections are riddled with a slew of complicated and technical ballot measures. Adding more to the din will only dilute how much people care at all.

Moreover, some revenue bond-funded projects might require urgency, particularly in the case of an emergency. It doesn’t make sense to force the state to wait until voters approve projects that don’t always apply to them. That’s the point of electing representatives anyway.

Sure, direct democracy is great. It’s also incredibly slow and cumbersome, given the representative democracy we live in. Californians should reject Proposition 53 — we don’t need it.

Endorsements represent the majority opinion of the Senior Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.