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May 9, 2006 > Proposition 81

Proposition 81

California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act of 2006.

The cost of operating and building local libraries is primarily paid by cities, counties and special districts although some money is received from the state and federal government. Libraries throughout the state are receiving about $46 million this year from the state and federal governments.

The state, typically through general obligation bonds, also provides funds to help pay for the construction and renovation of library facilities. In 1988, state voters approved Proposition 85, which authorized $75 million in general obligation bonds to fund grants to local agencies for building, expanding, or renovating library buildings and in 2000, voters approved Proposition 14, which provided an additional $350 million in bond funds for library projects. Both grant programs required local agencies to pay for 35 percent of the cost of the project with their own funds.

This act provides for a bond issue in an amount not to exceed a total of $600 million to provide funds for the construction and renovation of public library facilities in order to expand access to reading and literacy programs in California's public education system and to expand access to public library services for all residents of California. These grant funds could not be used for (1) books and other library materials, (2) certain administrative costs of the project, (3) interest costs or other charges for financing the project, or (4) ongoing operating costs of the new or renovated facility.

The new program grants first priority to eligible applications that were submitted but not funded under Proposition 14. The measure also reserves $25 million for "joint use" projects serving both a library and a public education institution (such as a school district or college). In order to receive a state grant, a local agency must provide 35 percent of the project cost. The proposition provides for a seven-member state board to adopt policies for the program and decide which local agencies would receive grants.

The state would likely make principal and interest payments from the state's General Fund over a period of about 30 years. If the bonds are sold at an average interest rate of 5 percent, the cost would be almost $1.2 billion to pay off both the principal ($600 million) and interest ($570 million).

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition 81:
Proposition 81 builds new community libraries and renovates old ones. It encourages school-library partnerships and helps fight illiteracy, without tax increases. $600 million in state matching funds combines with local funding to provide safe havens for children after school and greater library access for seniors, businesses, disabled, and families.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition 81:
Free spending politicians have misspent our money. We should not spend $9 billion a year on welfare for illegal aliens, and then borrow money for libraries. A no vote forces free spending politicians to cut welfare for illegal aliens to pay for our libraries.

The above is a brief synopsis of the information available at and

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