Rose Fellow Douglas Johnson on school bonds vote

A November 8th article in the San Gabriel Valley Daily Bulletin quoted Rose Institute Fellow Douglas Johnson on the topic of Claremont’s failed $95 millon bond measure, which would have upgraded school district buildings and equipment. Titled “Measure CL verdict debates,” the article examines the reasons why the bond failed, according to both supporters and opponents.

Johnson points out that under normal economic conditions, a measure like this would have likely been approved. He says, “This is definitely a surprisingly large defeat for this measure considering what we usually expect from Claremont.” Johnson attributes the measure’s defeat to “a rough year for local bond measures throughout the country as well as Los Angeles County.”

He says, “normally, it’s about 70 to 80 percent of these local revenue measures pass…this year, at best, it was 50 percent. The voters were certainly against all taxes and Claremont just got caught up in that. I think Claremont got caught up in the general anti-tax feeling…times are tough and plus there’s a general sense federal taxes are going to have to go up to cover spending planned or under way and that magnifies the usual economic concern over more money coming out of people’s pockets.”

Johnson believes that school district officials will need a new approach if they want to pass similar bonds in the future. He says, “whether that’s waiting or to come up with a different measure, I don’t know.”

He concludes that “I think that it’s always interesting to see when people turn down tax measures how do voters react to the resulting budget cuts…opinions can sway very quickly in some cases once step two of that process takes place.”

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