SACRAMENTO — Builders and anti-tax crusaders reacted negatively and the Wilson Administration expressed caution Tuesday about an ambitious Democratic plan to combine California economic development with growth management.
The plan, formally announced at a news conference by state Sen. Robert Presley (D-Riverside) and Assemblyman Sam Farr (D-Carmel), calls for legislation to create an "infrastructure bank" to rebuild the state's public works. The plan also proposes a large state bond issue to fund new roads, sewers and other public works and calls for a constitutional change to permit local voter approval for bond issues by a majority vote instead of the two-thirds now required.
"Some of this is good but some just creates new barriers to economic recovery," said Richard Lyon, legislative advocate for the California Building Industry Assn.
Lyon said the association likes the financing ideas contained in the Presley-Farr package but does not support the idea of "urban growth limits" that would bar development in some areas for 20 years.
The coalition behind these proposals "is not made up of mainstream business and development groups in the state," Lyon added. "Conspicuously absent are groups such as the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers Assn. and the California Assn. of Realtors."
Joel Fox, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., said his group opposes changing the requirement to approve local general obligation bonds from two-thirds to a majority.
Dave Kilby of the state Chamber of Commerce said "we're supporters of the general concept" and "we think it's great to get this subject back on the front burner" but the business group is still studying the plan's details.
Rich Sybert, director of Gov. Pete Wilson's Office of Planning and Research and the governor's principal growth management adviser, questioned the need for a new state authority that would decide which public works projects should be approved and which should not. "Is an additional government structure really needed?" Sybert asked.