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2018 electionCalifornia Legislature

Assembly Democrats aim to put $3-billion bond for parks on 2018 ballot

A park official closes the gate to Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in the Mojave Desert. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A park official closes the gate to Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in the Mojave Desert. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

California voters could decide in 2018 whether to approve a $3-billion bond to finance a boost to parks and open space across the state.

The state Assembly approved the measure Monday afternoon, which would provide money to state and local park improvements with an emphasis on funneling dollars to disadvantaged communities.

“It’s hard for people in my communities to have access to healthy environments,” Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) said when arguing in favor of the bill.

The measure required a two-thirds supermajority for passage and did so entirely with Democratic votes.

Republican assemblymembers argued that the state should spend the money it has now on parks rather than ask voters to borrow money. They noted the $3-billion bond will require the state to repay $6 billion over three decades.

“It could be done without doubling the price tag,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said.

Before reaching the 2018 ballot, the parks bond needs similar supermajority approval in the state Senate and the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.

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