IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: San Jose Mercury News: “Andrew Grant: California initiative won’t prevent federal disaster relief”

Mar. 22, 2016 / Press Release /Stop Blank Checks

SACRAMENTO, CA – Yesterday, the San Jose Mercury News published an op-ed by Andrew Grant, former Deputy Team Leader for the National Incident Management Assistance Team – West at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that confirmed the Stop Blank Checks initiative will not impact natural disaster response funding. The initiative, by proponent Dean Cortopassi, would require a statewide vote for state revenue bond projects over $2 billion.

Grant’s op-ed, along with an op-ed by Former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness and a recent “fact check” by the Sacramento Bee, refute the opposition’s misguided claims that the initiative will impair the state’s ability to rebuild after a natural disaster.

Read excerpts from the opinion piece, “California initiative won’t prevent federal disaster relief,” below:

“After a declared natural disaster, FEMA’s Public Assistance Program is required by federal law to provide no less than 75 percent of the cost for both emergency protective measures and permanent infrastructure restoration. When it comes to highway repairs, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides 100 percent of the funding during the first 180 days after a natural disaster. In fact, state and local governments are encouraged to use federal dollars as it is an important first-step in recovery for an area severely impacted by disaster.

Between FEMA, FHWA and other federal assistance, the federal government provides the majority of natural disaster response funding. Having personally participated in walking local governments through federal assistance activities, I can attest to the fact that FEMA makes federal dollars remarkably accessible for costs that could severely harm the budget of small government operations. When the state does step in to supplement federal funding after a natural disaster, general funds are used, like general obligation bonds. Revenue bonds are not used because a natural disaster does not create a “revenue stream” for the repayment of those bonds. Finally, should the state need more resources, on a case-by-case basis the Legislature can pass bills that put additional general obligation bonds on the ballot for disaster-related expenses.

… While natural disasters will, no doubt, continue to challenge Californians, supporting the Protect Your Right to Vote on Bonds initiative will not deny citizens the funding essential to provide natural disaster relief.”

Read Andrew Grant’s opinion piece in its entirety here:

The Stop Blank Checks initiative (15-0003) would require statewide voter approval for state revenue bond projects costing more than $2 billion, closing a loophole that allows politicians to issue massive new debt for multi-billion dollar projects without voter approval. For more information on the initiative, visit


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