Experts Expound

Experts Expound

Should California approve $50 billion worth of bonds to improve roads,
schools and other aspects of the state’s infrastructure, as tentatively
proposed by the Schwarzenegger administration?

“Yes”

“No. We cannot afford that kind of debt.”

“This is an overdue proposal that deserves support as long as the projects
are carefully vetted and it includes adequate accountability and oversight
provisions. The scary thing is that $50 billion is just a drop in the bucket
compared to the state’s need for transportation infrastructure. The
California Transportation Commission in 2000 estimated the state had a
10-year unmet need of $117 billion in this area.”

“I’m not sure about the exact figure, but we have no choice but to pour a
lot more concrete. Traffic delays severely hurt our productivity, and they
also drive many people out of the state.”

“Only if it is dedicated, and the Democrats don’t load it with perks for
their union buddies. Also, keep in mind that Pat Brown didn’t build
California by accruing massive debt.”

“California needs to jump-start an infrastructure update, and
post-hurricane, the time is ripe. But $50 billion without new revenues to
cover the debt-service is irresponsible.”

“Yes, and they should pay for it with the upper-income tax Rob Reiner wants
to use for his preschool program. Since the initiative is almost certain to
pass, and the tax is going to go up anyway, better to use the revenue for
roads and hospitals instead of an actor’s vanity project.”

“Yes. I’m sympathetic to the concept but the devil’s in the details. How is
it financed? What specifically does the money go towards? Are there
adequate financial controls to ensure the money is spent as efficiently as
possible?

“It is doubtful that the governor can get his GOP members to swallow taxes
and fees needed to do a bond package of this magnitude. He is in for a dose
of reality when he returns from his Chinese love fest.”

“Should we? No. Would the voters blindly approve a massive debt offering to
solve an immediate problem? Yes.”

“Yes–not good public policy but we truly have no choice. After the initial
sticker shock wears off, most Californians recognize that there is an urgent
need and this is an appropriate use of bond monies. As a side note,
whatever pollster is telling Phil Angelides to oppose this because voters
care about bonded indebtedness should be fired for malpractice.”

The people from whom we sought opinions: Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Don
Wilcox, Evan Goldberg, Dan Schnur, Jason Kinney, Karen Hanretty, Kevin
Spillane, Matt Ross, Sam Delson, Mike Madrid, Morgan Crinklaw, Richard
Zeiger, Ralph Simoni, Bob Hertzberg, Scott Baugh, Steve Maviglio, Tony
Quinn, Peter Demarco, Dave Sebeck, Adam Probolsky, Barbara O’Connor, Jack
Pitney.

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