Will there be a Climate Resiliency Bond on November’s ballot?
Before California entered this current COVID-19 reality, the Governor released an ambitious budget that included a $4.75 billion Climate Resiliency Bond to be placed on the November 2020 ballot and support investments over the next five years. The Governor’s bond is structured based on climate risks, and approximately 80 percent of the funds are allocated to address immediate, near-term risks (floods, drought, and wildfires). The remaining funds lay the groundwork for addressing long-term climate risk (sea level rise and extreme heat).
Facing a budget deficit of $54 billion, however, the Governor announced during his presentation of the May Revision of the budget that he is no longer moving forward with his Climate Resiliency Bond.
This announcement has not deterred the Senate and Assembly, which are each continuing to move forward with their respective bond proposals.
AB 3256 by Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia would authorize $6.98 billion in a general obligation bond, pending voter approval in November. Specifically, the bond would provide:
- $1.625 billion for wildfire prevention and climate risk reduction.
- $1.1 billion for the protection of coastal lands, bays, and oceans from climate risks.
- $1.355 billion for the protection of California’s water supplies from multiyear droughts, reducing flood risk from extreme events, and providing safe drinking water.
- $1.3 billion for the protection of California’s wildfire, biodiversity, fisheries, and working and agricultural lands from climate risks.
- $1.6 billion for regional climate resilience projects that address multiple risks.
SB 45 by Senator Allen would authorize $5.51 billion in a general obligation bond, pending voter approval in November. Specifically, the bond would provide:
- $2.2 billion for wildfire prevention, drought, or other natural disaster prevention and community resilience from climate change impacts.
- $1.47 billion for providing safe drinking water and protecting water supply and water quality from climate risks.
- $620 million for protecting fish and wildlife from climate risks.
- $190 million for protecting agricultural land from climate risks.
- $970 million for protecting coastal lands, oceans, bays, waters, natural resources, and wildlife from climate risks.
- $60 million for climate resilience, workforce development, and education.
Both AB 3256 and SB 45 specifically allocate funding towards projects to secure Safe Drinking Water for communities, groundwater recharge, and SGMA compliance. The authors have both expressed their desire is to help agriculture continue to function in California and come into compliance with the regulations that are headed agriculture’s way.
Only one Climate Resiliency Bond will make it to the November ballot, and in order to meet deadlines for the November 2020 ballot, the language must be finalized and to the Governor by mid-June. Deadlines may be waived by the Legislature; however, the goal is to have the bond completed on time.
Even if there is no bond this year, many legislators and stakeholders anticipate some of the infrastructure projects in the Assembly and Senate proposals could be worked into an economic stimulus package presented by the Legislature in conjunction with the report expected from the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. View Update