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Capitol Roundup: Water Bond, Elected Officials Salaries

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Rewritten Water Bond to Include Less Money for Storage
California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says lawmakers plan to rewrite the $11 billion water bond for the November 2014 ballot - and the new version will likely have less money for storage projects such as dams.
"There will continue to be a chapter for storage," says Steinberg.  But "I don't think there will be nearly the same amount of money in that chapter as there was in the original bond.  And I think there will be de-emphasis, frankly - or at least, on the same surface storage projects." 
Steinberg says the overall size of the bond will be "significantly less" as well.  In addition to storage, he says it will focus on safe drinking water, conservation efforts and restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
His comments come as a new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows nearly 70 percent of voters believe it's important that a water bond be passed.  But just over 40 percent support the measure at its current size.

Commission Leaves Elected Official Salaries Unchanged, For Now
The chairman of the commission charged with setting the salaries and benefits for California state officeholders says the panel isn't likely to approve any pay raises this year.
The California Citizens Compensation Commission met Thursday in Sacramento.  It deferred a vote on pay levels until mid-June, when state revenues are clearer.
Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg declined to say whether the commission should raise elected officials' salaries.  But he did argue against any further cuts.
"We are not perfect by any means," he said.  "But legislators have taken - when you add up everything - you know, I think over a 25 percent cut.  And I think enough is enough."
In fact, he commission has reduced the salaries of the governor, lawmakers and other state elected officials by 22 percent since their high five years ago.
Governor Jerry Brown currently earns $165,000 a year.  Legislative leaders earn $104,000.  Rank-and-file lawmakers earn $90,000.
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