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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
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State of California June 6, 2006 Election
Proposition 81
California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act of 2006
State of California

Bond Issue - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 2,326,305 / 47.3% Yes votes ...... 2,590,954 / 52.7% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Jul 13 4:04pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (23124/23124)
Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Official Information | Arguments |

Shall the state sell $600 million in bonds to provide grants to local agencies for the construction, renovation, and/or expansion of local library facilities?

This act provides for a bond issue in an amount not to exceed a total of six hundred million dollars ($600,000,000) to provide funds for the construction and renovation of public library facilities in order to expand access to reading and literacy programs in California’s public education system and to expand access to public library services for all residents of California.

Fiscal Impact:
State cost of about $1.2 billion over 30 years to pay off both the principal ($600 million) and interest ($570 million) costs of the bonds. One-time local costs (statewide) of about $320 million for local matching contributions.

Fiscal Impact from the Legislative Analyst:
Costs to Pay Off Bonds.
For these bonds, the state would likely make principal and interest payments from the state's General Fund over a period of about 30 years. If the bonds are sold at an average interest rate of 5 percent, the cost would be almost $1.2 billion to pay off both the principal ($600 million) and interest ($570 million). The average payment would be about $40 million per year.

Local Cost to Match State Funds.
As mentioned above, in order to receive a state grant a local agency must provide 35 percent of the project cost. Thus, on a statewide basis, local agencies would need to spend about $320 million. The cost would vary by local agency depending on the cost of the specific project.

Costs to Operate New Library Facilities.
Local agencies that build new or expand existing libraries would likely incur additional operating costs. These costs--statewide--could be several millions of dollars annually.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
The state could sell $600 million in bonds to provide grants to local agencies for the construction, renovation, and/or expansion of local library facilities. Local agencies would contribute about $320 million of their own funds towards these projects.

A NO vote on this measure means:
The state could not sell $600 million in bonds for these purposes.

Official Sources of Information
Arguments Submitted to the Secretary of State

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition 81:
Proposition 81 builds new community libraries and renovates old ones. It encourages school-library partnerships and helps fight illiteracy, without tax increases. $600 million in state matching funds combines with local funding to provide safe havens for children after school and greater library access for seniors, businesses, disabled, and families.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition 81:
Free spending politicians have misspent our money. We should not spend $9 billion a year on welfare for illegal aliens, and then borrow money for libraries. A no vote forces free spending politicians to cut welfare for illegal aliens to pay for our libraries. Vote No on Proposition 81.
Contact FOR Proposition 81:
Nancy Mooney
Yes for Libraries
1215 19th St. #200
Sacramento, CA 95814

Contact AGAINST Proposition 81:
Thomas N. Hudson
Executive Director, California Taxpayer Protection Committee
9971 Base Line Road
Elverta, CA 95626-9411

  Overview & Analysis

(Sources in order from Basic to Detailed and provided by the League of Women Voters)

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Official Information

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Arguments For Proposition 81 Arguments Against Proposition 81
  • Proposition 81 strengthens the partnership between local schools and libraries.

Millions of our friends and neighbors suffer silently from functional illiteracy. They are unable to read and perform daily life skills like paying bills, understanding instructions on medicine bottles or workplace safety manuals.

Illiteracy often passes from one generation to the next. Businesses suffer from productivity losses and lower quality products. Without basic literacy skills, good-paying jobs are simply out of reach for many.

Illiteracy is not limited by age, race, gender, or geography. Over three million native English-speaking Californians are functionally illiterate. Libraries and schools are working together to educate our youth and provide literacy programs to adults and families to reverse this trend.

  • Local libraries are vital to education, provide a safe place for children, and serve the disabled. Libraries provide critical literacy and job skill improvement programs for children and adults. They are a safe place for students to study and complete homework assignments. For many, they are the only place to study and use computers to compete in today's information economy. Libraries also provide large print books, books on tape, and other services for people with disabilities.

  • Libraries are underfunded and in disrepair. Skyrocketing library use is causing an already underfunded system to rapidly deteriorate. Many communities have no local libraries, despite significant local population growth. This makes it difficult to take advantage of important children's reading programs, student homework centers, services for seniors and the disabled, and literacy programs. A 2003 needs assessment, conducted by the California State Library, concludes there are more than 500 public library building projects needed in the next five years.

  • Proposition 81 is not a tax increase. By using state bond money for renovating or building libraries, more local funds will be available for expanding children's reading programs, improving book collections, providing services for seniors and people with disabilities, and increasing literacy efforts.

  • State pays 65%--local government pays 35%. While this effort will not fund all our library needs, approved projects combine both state bond money (65% of project costs) and local funding (35%), maximizing the effectiveness of these critical resources. Previously approved projects between libraries and schools are targeted for priority funding. Most of the new projects funded by this bond money will also be school/library partnerships.

  • Proposition 81 puts money into vital needs, not administrative overhead. By law, local governments cannot use one penny of this bond money for administrative costs. Libraries can build homework centers for students, expand literacy centers and facilities for reading programs, and upgrade electrical and telecommunications systems to accommodate computers and increased Internet access for students, people with disabilities, and adult learners.

  • By strengthening the partnership between libraries and schools, Proposition 81 will be an important part of achieving California's literacy goals and strengthening our entire educational system.

Please join us. Vote Yes on Proposition 81.

JACQUELINE JACOBBERGER, President League of Women Voters of California

HENRY L. LACAYO, State President Congress of California Seniors

MARY BERGAN, President California Federation of Teachers

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Didn't we say that the supporters of Proposition 81 would tell you how much they needed your money? As we said, they would claim that they don't have enough money, and only this money would save libraries in this state.

What happened to the $300 million loan we gave them in 2000, just six short years ago? How did they spend that money? If you go back and read their arguments from that time, they said exactly the same thing that they are saying now.

The problem is the politicians have refused to make libraries a priority. Today, state spending is $43 billion more than it was just 7 short years ago. Could the state use just two percent of that money to pay for library improvements? Yes, they could, but that means the politicians would have to take the money from their pet projects, like welfare, free health care, and reduced college tuition for illegal aliens, and give it to libraries. Why would they do that, however, if we just keep letting them borrow the money for the services we want, and letting them spend our tax dollars on their pet projects? Voting against this bond is not a vote against libraries. It is a vote against free spending politicians who spend their money on candy, and buy meat and bread with the credit card.

We will either say no now, or face bankruptcy very soon. Join us and say no.

ASSEMBLYMAN RAY HAYNES, Member California State Assembly

JON COUPAL, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

LEW UHLER, President National Tax Limitation Committee

It is never enough.

Did you realize that, prior to 1986, the state only owed $4 billion in bonds? California and its taxpayers built our entire freeway system, the entire university system, our water system, and all of our grade and high schools without borrowing a dime.

Today, we, our children, and our grandchildren owe over $50 billion, a one thousand two hundred and fifty percent increase in just 20 years. And it is still not enough.

In 1988, the politicians told us our libraries were in trouble, and needed more money. We were told that even though the state had a $20 billion budget, we were in trouble. We were told that the state could not afford to spend anything out of its budget on libraries, and we had to borrow the money. So we took out our credit card and borrowed $75 million. But it wasn't enough.

In 2000, we were told our libraries were in trouble again, and, even though the state budget was $64 billion, we could not afford to spend a dime of that money on libraries, and we had to borrow another $350 million for libraries. We were told by the politicians we would save our libraries if we just borrowed this money one more time. So we took out our credit card again, and borrowed the money.

Six years later, we are again being told that we need to borrow money for libraries, only this time they need $600 million.

Since 1988, the price tag for our libraries has risen 600 percent in borrowed money. Since 1988, the state budget has increased 500 percent, from $20 billion to $100 billion. The state has five times the money it had in 1988, and it can’t find $600 million for libraries? In our present budget, $600 million is 6/10ths of one percent of the budget. We spent $9 billion on illegal alien welfare last year, yet the state can't find one dime in money for libraries, and has to borrow money again? Something is wrong.

We are going to be told how important libraries are, and how we have to borrow the money again. These politicians want our children and our grandchildren to keep paying more and more, so they can keep giving more and more of their money to illegal aliens and self-indulgent bureaucrats.

The only way we can stop this is to say no. Maybe if we say no, they will quit asking us to pull out the credit card. Maybe they will quit spending money on stuff we don't want, and start spending it on stuff we do want, like libraries.

Instead of letting them borrow the money, we need to tell them to take the money away from the illegals, and give it to us in libraries. Please say no to this bond. It is not a no to libraries; it is a no to self-indulgent politicians who have spent our tax dollars unwisely.

Tell them enough is enough.

ASSEMBLYMAN RAY HAYNES, Member California State Assembly

LEW UHLER, President National Tax Limitation Committee JON COUPAL, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association 81

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The opponents' argument is simply misleading.

California's infrastructure needs have always required an investment. In the 1950s and 60s, when many of the state's great building projects were undertaken, bonds were a commonly used financing method.

Under Prop. 81, the annual interest and principal payment will be less than $2 per California resident . . . to build and renovate dozens of libraries statewide . . . bring thousands of local jobs, and significantly boost local economies . . . foster partnerships between libraries and schools . . . help fight illiteracy and support education.

California's population of young people and seniors--the two most significant library users--has exploded and continues to swell.

Although Proposition 81 asks for significantly less than the $4 billion needed to fully meet anticipated need by 2011, by combining a 65% state match with 35% locally generated funds, Prop. 81 will actually result in nearly $900 million being spent in local communities.

And, libraries are more relevant than ever in the Internet age. They are a resource for people needing assistance, instruction, or free access to computers or high speed Internet. Libraries are community centers and safe places for children to go after school. They help fight illiteracy and are an essential component of a quality education. Just visit your local library on the weekend, a weekday afternoon, or any morning at opening time. You'll find an institution that is alive, crowded, and essential to the community.

Support the school/library partnership. Vote Yes on Prop. 81.

BILL HAUCK, President California Business Roundtable

JONATHAN LIGHTMAN, Executive Director Faculty Association of California Community Colleges

TED LEMPERT, President Children Now

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