Propositions 28 and 31 are the easiest ‘yes’ votes on the California ballot. They both benefit kids and the environment.
As expected Proposition 28 would end the state’s $300 million annual subsidy to the San Joaquin Valley’s water-intensive farms. The $2.15 billion measure also would give the state the right to control the quality of the water to be used by the eight-county area water utility, the only one that actually services the valley.
The San Joaquin Valley is the heartland of California’s agriculture industry. The valley water, which has been contaminated over time, is crucial to the livelihoods of the farms, many of which produce fruits and vegetables that are exported to nations all over the world.
If the proposition fails or is voted down, water would have to be diverted from the valley’s farmers to the state’s San Francisco Bay Delta, which provides nearly 50 percent of the state’s freshwater.
Proposition 31 would extend a $25 million bond from the voters to create a water management district, which would raise water rates but not have any other water-related powers.
What’s more, a majority of voters opposed both propositions.
The result of the Proposition 28 and 31 election, the last on the books until 2020, will be key for water-related issues across the country. Voters in California, for example, will determine the fate of two ballot measures aimed at reviving California’s dying agriculture industry. Two more propositions—restricting the state’s role in subsidizing the valley’s agricultural industry and restricting the state’s right to manage the San Francisco Bay Delta—also are on the ballot.
In November, voters will also weigh-in on two other issues, the legality of two new tax increases on corporations and the constitutionality of a California ballot proposition that would have imposed a $5.5 billion package of taxes on some property owners and corporations.
The November vote may have political significance beyond the state’s water issues, as well. Even if Proposition