Why Debt Matters

California is saddled with historic levels of debt that puts our long-term fiscal health in danger. Totaling over $330 billion, California’s outstanding liabilities are unsustainable.

California has the third worst credit rating of any state in the nation. As a share of personal income, population, and gross domestic product, California’s debt load is the third worst among the ten largest states.

Californians deserve the right to vote on all new major bond debt before they, and future generations, are expected to pay.

“Today we see politicians and state bureaucrats trying to use “revenue bonds” to pay for large infrastructure projects. These projects require no legislative hearings, no vote by the Legislature and no vote of the people.”
~ Michael Machado, retired member of the California State Senate

Constraining our Economy and Crowding Out Services

More and more of Californians’ hard-earned dollars are being diverted to pay for higher borrowing costs and escalating state debt – money that would otherwise go to growing our economy or paying for services taxpayers rely on.

So who benefits from California’s unchecked debt financing?

  • Wall Street Banks win – they make hundreds of millions of dollars in interest and fees.
  • Special Interests win – they grow their power and get publicly financed pet projects.
  • Politicians win – they get campaign contributions and don’t have to make unpopular votes to raise taxes or cut services to pay for expensive new pet projects.
  • California Taxpayers lose – they are forced to pay for projects for which there is no oversight, no accountability, and no opportunity to vote on them.

Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Californians know that it’s a constant battle to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in government. Large infrastructure projects in particular have an extremely poor record of going over-budget due to waste, fraud, and abuse.

Sacramento politicians and bureaucrats currently have the power to discreetly spend billions of dollars using revenue bond debt – without voter approval and without a transparent vetting by the public.

Unchecked spending of revenue bonds costing over $2 billion is bad for California.

Huge Government Projects

With $330 billion in debt, Sacramento politicians have maxed out California’s credit card, and it is time for voters to stop them from spending more than we can afford.

However, Sacramento politicians are still pushing for controversial projects estimated to cost nearly $100 billion.

To avoid the public review and accountability that comes with getting voter approval for these controversial, multi-billion dollar projects, politicians want to use a loophole that will allow them to borrow billions in new revenue bond debt without giving voters a voice. Since voters are the ones who have to pay, voters should have a say.