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in the KNOW

October 17, 2014

Ballot Recommendation – Yes on Prop 1

Yes on Prop 1 — Water Bond

Ag Council strongly supports the water bond, Prop 1, on the November 4 ballot. Passage of the water bond is incredibly important to provide for a more reliable future for agriculture and all water users in California.

Prop 1 comprises a solid commitment to water storage with nearly 40 percent of total bond funds dedicated to surface and groundwater storage projects. With the dire circumstances agriculture and others face this year, we must approve Prop 1 in order to better prepare our state for future weather events.

Prop 1 authorizes $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds ($425 million of which are existing unsold bonds previously approved by voters) for water supply projects, comprising surface and groundwater storage, funds for groundwater cleanup and drinking water protection, as wells as ecosystem and watershed restoration efforts, among other funds.

Specifically, the water bond allocates funds toward the following areas:

$2.7 billion – Water storage, surface and groundwater

$1.495 billion – Watershed protection

$900 million – Groundwater cleanup and sustainability

$810 million – Integrated Regional Water Management, Conservation & Stormwater

$725 million – Water recycling

$520 million – Safe drinking water and wastewater

$395 million – Flood control

Under the bond, the California Water Commission decides which water storage projects are to be awarded funds through a competitive process by weighing the expected return on investment while reviewing the public benefits of each project.

The water bond places parameters on the expenditure of funds to provide sound management and transparency in the use of funds. For example, awarded projects cannot spend over five percent of funds on administration or more than 10 percent on planning. In addition, the vast majority of bond funding–$5.7 billion out of $7.545 billion–requires local matching funds.

Prop 1 does not raise taxes and repayment of the general obligation bonds occurs over the next 40 years.

Given the importance of this issue to the ag community, Ag Council urges your support of Prop 1 as it helps provide for a more secure and reliable water supply for California.

The California Farm Water Coalition developed detailed information about Prop 1, particularly with regard to water storage. Click HERE for further information.

Ballot Recommendation – Yes on Prop 2

Yes on Prop 2 — Rainy Day Fund

Ag Council supports Prop 2, which creates a state budget reserve by annually setting aside 1.5 percent of state general fund revenue to pay down debt. The fund is capped at 10 percent of general fund revenues.

The state must take action to be better prepared for the boom and bust cycles of the economy. Prop 2 helps California weather future economic storms by creating a constitutionally protected rainy day fund.

Prop 2 also diverts spikes in capital gains taxes into the fund and half of all fund revenues must be used to pay debts and unfunded liabilities.

Prop 2 was approved by a unanimous vote in the California State Legislature.

Ag Council encourages members to support Prop 2 given that it creates sound fiscal policy for California.

Ag Renewable Energy Conference & Expo

Ag Council and several of our members are cosponsoring the Agricultural Renewable Energy Conference & Expo on November 12, 2014 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Fresno Hotel & Conference Center in Fresno.

The conference is being held to help farmers, dairy producers and processors better understand renewable energy opportunities, including solar energy. Attendees can also learn about new grant programs and incentives for bioenergy projects.

Registration is available online by clicking HERE. The early registration cost is $45 until October 31 and includes conference costs, including the trade show, continental breakfast and lunch. Please call ph. (916) 447-6206 if you have any questions. The Agricultural Energy Consumers Association, of which Ag Council is a member, and Western Agricultural Processors Association are presenting the conference in Fresno.

Ag Council Annual Mtg. in SF March 4-6, 2015

Please join Ag Council for our 96th Annual Meeting March 4-6, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. The Golf Tournament and PAC Fundraiser will be held at TPC Harding Park on March 4.

As in the past, Ag Council’s Annual Meeting is held in conjunction with CoBank’s Pac-West Customer Meeting.

Ag Council looks forward to seeing our members and friends in San Francisco. Program information and registration will be available on Ag Council’s website in December. In the meantime, please add this event to your calendar and plan to join us March 4-6, 2015.