SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

California | Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections

State owes counties over $17 million as Brown fast-tracks tunnels
by Dan Bacher
Thursday Nov 14th, 2013 1:34 PM
“Why would we trust these same agencies to keep their promises about the $54 billion tunnels, the land they will purchase or the ‘habitat’ they will buy and manage?" asked RTD Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “The failure to repay for lands is just one in a long series of broken promises by these same agencies. They are not trustworthy.”

Graphic of Jerry Brown courtesy of Red, Green and Blue.
donkeyhotey_jerry_brown.jpg
donkeyhotey_jerry_brown.jpg

State owes counties over $17 million as Brown fast-tracks tunnels

by Dan Bacher

Opponents of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels asked how taxpayers would trust "deadbeat state agencies" to pay billions for seized farmland and habitat when news reports reveal that the agencies owe counties over $17 million.

Restore the Delta (RTD) today responded to news reports in the Sacramento Bee and on Capital Public Radio that the State of California has failed to pay for land it acquired from thirty-six counties.

This report of defaulted payments comes as the State pursues its plan to purchase, or seize through eminent domain, tens of thousands of acres of farmland to build a pair of water export tunnels to deliver massive quantities of Sacramento River water to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies.

“Why would we trust these same agencies to keep their promises about the $54.1 billion tunnels, the land they will purchase or the ‘habitat’ they will buy and manage?" asked RTD Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “The failure to repay for lands is just one in a long series of broken promises by these same agencies. They are not trustworthy.”

The $54.1 billion cost of the tunnels includes $14.5 billion for construction, $1.5 billion for O&M (operation and maintenance), $26.3 billion for interest on tunnel revenue bonds, $7 billion for habitat and conservation, $3.2 billion for interest on General Obligation Bonds and $1.6 billion for administration and research.

The state currently owes the counties more than $17 million, according to California Public Radio (http://www.capradio.org/articles/2013/11/12/fish-and-wildlife-owes-counties-millions-of-dollars/

Bob Moffitt at California Public Radio explained, "The Department of Fish and Wildlife long ago bought properties for wildlife projects in three dozen counties. The department agreed to make yearly payments equal to the amount of property taxes that counties would lose as a result of the sale."

H.D. Palmer of the California Department of Finance told Moffitt that the state hasn't made a payment since the end of the 2001 fiscal year.

"The rural counties have sent letters to the governor seeking that those payments be re-instated and we are still working on the decisions on the budget that the Governor will submit in January," Palmer said. "So, we can't say one way or the other what will be in that budget regarding the in-lieu payments."

"This week, Yolo County sent the Department of Fish and Wildlife a past-due invoice for about $1.4 million. The county says property like the one known as 'No Man's Land' near the Yolo Causeway are not generating tax revenue because they are owned by the state and are a burden on neighboring landowners who pay more than their fair share for fire protection services," Moffitt reported.

The state owes Riverside $2.7 million - the most of any county- followed by Napa, Yolo, Butte, Merced, Lassen and San Diego, according to Moffitt.

To read the Sacramento Bee article, go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/12/v-print/5906242/yolo-county-asks-state-for-14.html

Protesters have greeted Governor Jerry Brown at his recent appearances throughout the state to oppose his support of fracking, the peripheral tunnels, massive fish kills on the Delta and REDD. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/10/18/18745051.php