Californians are voting Tuesday on proposals to let the state borrow $4 billion for parks and conservation projects and change how revenues are allocated from its cap-and-trade pollution program.
Voters are heading to the polls to decide on five statewide ballot measures.
Proposition 68 would let California issue general obligation bonds to fund parks and environmental projects, including $200 million to help preserve the state's largest lake. The Salton Sea has been evaporating since San Diego's regional water agency stopped sending it water. The lake's shrinkage has swept dust into nearby communities and threatened bird habitat.
News from across California
The measure -- which was approved for the ballot by the Legislature -- would also provide $725 million for parks in underserved neighborhoods and fund clean drinking water and flood-prevention projects.
Proponents say the efforts are vital to help California mitigate natural disasters such as wildfires and floods and expand community access to parks. Opponents say the state shouldn't take on new bond debt.
Proposition 70 seeks to change how the Legislature determines how money is spent from California's cap-and trade program, which generates billions of dollars each year by requiring polluters to buy permits to release greenhouse gases.
Cap and trade is projected to raise $2.7 billion during the current fiscal year. Spending the funds, like the rest of the state budget, requires a simple majority vote in each house of the Legislature. About a quarter of the revenues go to the state's high-speed rail project, which is opposed by many Republicans.
If the measure passes, the Legislature would require a one-time two-thirds majority vote starting in 2024 to allocate these funds, which could give Republicans more say in the process.
The other measures on the ballot address how diesel tax revenues are spent, when ballot measures take effect and a tax break for installing rainwater-capture devices.
Proposition 69 would require the Legislature to spend money from a recently-approved diesel tax and vehicle fee on transportation projects. Lawmakers voted to put the measure on the ballot last year when they passed the gas tax increase, which Republicans want to repeal through a separate initiative in November.
Proposition 71 would change the effective date for ballot measures from the day after the election to five days after election results are certified. It would push back the effective start date for propositions about six weeks.
Proposition 72 would give a tax break to homeowners who install rainwater-capture devices on their properties in an effort to encourage more people to take the water-saving step.