Ballot Proposition Will Benefit
From Dateline (February 19, 2003)
Voters who review their
sample ballot and Official Voter Information Guide to the March
2 primary election won’t see a section labeled “What
This Means for Orange County.”
Yet, College of Business and Economics Dean Anil
Puri has zeroed in on that very aspect of Proposition
55, the Kindergarten-University Education Facilities
Bond Act of 2004 – one of two statewide bond measures on the
ballot. Puri, well-known for his annual OC economic forecasts, has
analyzed the fiscal impact of the education bond measure.
His projections indicate that the bond will generate
$1.6 billion in economic activity for Orange County, creating 11,000
new jobs and generating $574 million in wages.
Those projections are based upon the hundreds of
construction and renovation projects that will be launched countywide,
if voters approve the measure next month.
Most of the Proposition 55 bond money is earmarked
for K-12 projects, including $973 million to repair and enhance
schools. From the funding targeted for higher education, $50 million
is designated for Cal State Fullerton.
The county’s education chief sees a link between
economics and education: “Quality schools produce educated,
employable citizens, create local jobs and drive down crime rates,”
noted Orange County Superintendent William M. Habermehl, a Cal State
Fullerton alumnus (M.S. education ’73). “Good schools
also attract families and business to the region, enhance property
values and broaden the local revenue base.”
Proposition 55 is characterized by Habermehl as an
investment in the state’s children. Those who do not favor
its passage are concerned about the state’s indebtedness.
State Sen. Rico Oller (R-San Andreas), who filed official arguments
against the measure, has said that given the state’s budget
crisis, even without new bonds, increasing California’s debt
load will make it more difficult for the state to respond to natural
disasters and recessions. He also is concerned that today’s
school children will be paying for this bond long after their own
children have graduated.
Various business, civic and education groups are
aligned in support of the measure, including the Orange County Business
Council, the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, Brea Chamber of Commerce
and California Taxpayers Association, along with the California
State PTA and California Teachers Association.
Arguments for and against the
measure are available on the website of the Office of the California
Secretary of State at www.SS.CA.gov and in a related story (this
page). An article in the Feb. 5 edition of Dateline outlined the
bond-related projects slated for Cal State Fullerton-go to http://www.fullerton.edu/prop55
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