Brown administration opposes $9-billion schools bond

Brown administration opposes plan for $9-billion schools bond for November ballot

Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration came out Monday against a $9-billion school-facilities bond proposed by California lawmakers for the November statewide ballot.

As a result, the bill proposing the bond measure was put on the suspense file for at least a week by Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) told the committee that it has been too long since a statewide school bond measure was approved in 2006 and that school facilities are deteriorating. Responding to proposals to delay the bond, Buchanan said the bond measure may not be possible for the November 2016 ballot because there are talks about putting a measure on that ballot that would extend the Proposition 30 tax increases approved in 2012. She has been in discussions in paring the proposed school bond back in half, an aide said.

However, Brown’s Department of Finance urged the panel not to go forward with AB 2235.

“It creates new General Fund debt service costs at a time when the Administration is focused on paying down existing debt,” H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Finance Department, said in a statement. He added that the measure "continues to finance school facilities in a way that fails to address the Administration’s concerns -- expressed over the past two budgets -- over the existing system of K-12 facilities financing.”

He also said the measure is “inconsistent with changes in how the state is financing infrastructure for higher education,’’ noting that the budgets for the University of California and California State University systems now include funding for operations and infrastructure.

De Leon also objected that the bond measure is “very suburban-centric.” A decision on whether to remove the bill from suspense is to be made later this month.

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