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July 10, 2012 > Senate approves postponing water bond to 2014

Senate approves postponing water bond to 2014

By Judy Lin, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Jul 05 - California lawmakers are trying to delay voters' consideration of an $11 billion water bond from this November until 2014 - making it the second time the measure is postponed.

Senators on Thursday approved AB1422 on a 34-2 vote with bipartisan support. The bill by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, now moves to the Assembly.

The bond was originally set for voters' consideration in 2010, but former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation delaying it until this year.

Democrats want to delay the vote again to focus on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike to help state programs and cut the deficit. Democratic leaders have worried about the timing and cost of the proposal at a time they are relying on tax hikes to help cut the state's $15.7 billion deficit.

The governor's tax hike seeks to increase the sales and income taxes individuals with incomes over $250,000 a year. The money would aid the state's general fund, public schools and universities, and public safety.

Some lawmakers say the entire bond should be scrapped because it is filled with pork projects estimated at about $800 million. Others say it's a comprehensive plan that was the product of a bipartisan compromise.

``By all rights this bond should be repealed and the reason it should be repealed is because that is the only way we will have a serious discussion over the next year or two about what really ought to be funded in a water bond,'' said Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. Although she objected to the water bond itself, she voted in favor of delaying the vote to 2014.

Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, said the bill isn't perfect, but there are a lot of good things in it. ``It was 10 years in the making,'' he said.

Money from the bond would go to cleaning up contaminated groundwater, increasing conservation efforts, improving sewage systems, and researching construction of at least two dams.

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