Prop 41: Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014

Put on the Ballot by Legislature

65.4% YES
34.6% NO

Argument in Support of Proposition 41

Vote YES on Proposition 41, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014 to build affordable housing for California's veterans without raising taxes or adding to California's debt by redirecting $600 million of existing, unspent funds.

This is a fiscally responsible ballot measure that will help thousands of homeless veterans get a roof over their heads. This act doesn't create new taxes or add new debt to California. In fact, this act will save taxpayer dollars in healthcare and public safety by getting veterans off the streets and into safe, affordable housing.

California is home to more than one-quarter of all homeless veterans in the United States. We must take action to address this shocking situation, but we also know that California has had significant budget troubles over the past several years. That's why this measure doesn't add to California's debt; instead, it takes previously approved but unspent bond funds and uses them to construct affordable housing for homeless and near-homeless veterans. We know we need to do more for our veterans, and we can take action without raising a dime in new taxes or adding a nickel to California's debt.

Every veteran has unique needs, and this act will help ensure that we approach homelessness among veterans comprehensively. This act will help build transitional housing for veterans who are trying to escape homelessness, while also constructing supportive housing for veterans who are dealing with physical injuries, mental health issues, or Post Traumatic Stress stemming from their service. Priority will go to nonprofits and local governments to construct new housing or renovate existing facilities to meet the needs of veterans locally.

By voting YES on Proposition 41, we can act to make sure homeless veterans have access to quality, affordable housing and give at-risk veterans the opportunity to find the job training, counseling and rehabilitation services they need -- and since this Act uses money that has already been approved, but not spent, we can honor their service without adding to the debt or rising taxes.

As our conflicts overseas draw to a close, up to 45,000 young veterans will be returning home to California. They have sacrificed so much for our country, and some will be coming home with no jobs or homes waiting for them. We cannont allow these men and women who have served our country be left on their own.

That is why organizations like the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of California, Veterans Village of San Diego, U.S. VETS, and Swords to Plowshares support this act. They know that we must do right by our veterans and taxpayers alike.

Vote YES on Proposition 41 to build $600 million in quality affordable housing for California's veterans, without raising taxes or adding to California's debt. Honoring the sacrifices California's veterans have made isn't just our duty as voters -- it's our basic obligation as citizens. For more information, please visit www.yesonprop41forvets.org.

Let's support our veterans for all their sacrifices -- by voting YES!

John A. Perez, Speaker of the California Assembly
Leon E. Panetta, Former United States Secretary of Defense
Stephen Peck, President, U.S. VETS

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

Rebuttal to Argument in Support of Proposition 41

In general, it is the responsibility of the federal government to care for military veterans; however, when the federal government falls short and no one else picks up the slack, it is appropriate for state governments to lend a hand to persons who have served - even if voluntarily - in the military.

Credit the California Legislature for proposing in Proposition 41 to shift $600 million in voter-authorized borrowing to programs that may better help veterans in need.

Keep in mind, though, that all money borrowed (by selling bonds) must be repaid with interest.

In the case of Cal-Vet loans for the purchase of homes (and farms), the recipients have been required to pay back the loans with interest. In contrast, the programs proposed for homeless veterans would not be paid for by the veterans (as they cannot afford to pay).

Also keep in mind that any program which involves expenditures not given directly to the intended beneficiaries is subject to possible mismanagement and waste.

In the future, the best way to avoid homelessness among veterans is to avoid the unnecessary commitment of ground troops into combat around the globe. Putting "boots on the ground" in foreign lands should be a last resort.

GARY WESLEY

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

Argument Against Proposition 41

In 2008, California voters approved a $900 million bond measure to further fund the Cal Vet Farm and Home Loan Program. The Program began in 1921. It has helped more than 400,000 California military veterans buy homes (and farms).

In this proposition, the State Legislature is proposing to authorize use of $600 million of the prior $900 million bond measure (two-thirds) for another program aimed at helping homeless veterans. According to the Legislature, there are approximately 19,000 homeless veterans in California - with more coming.

If approved by voters, this proposition would allow a new "Housing for Veterans Finance Committee" to borrow money by selling up to $600 million in general obligation bonds "to provide the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable multi-family supportive housing, affordable transitional housing, affordable rental housing, or related facilities for veterans and their families to access and maintain housing stability."

According to the State Legislature, the $900 million in borrowing (by selling bonds) authorized by voters for the Cal Vet Loan Program in 2008 is not being fully used by veterans to buy homes or farms. Indeed, the Legislature reports that borrowing authority under the prior $500 million bond measure for the Loan Program has not been exhausted.

The chief questions raised by this proposition are:

(1) Should $600 million in borrowing capacity be taken from the Cal-Vet Farm and Home Loan Program?

(2) Should $600 million be borrowed (by selling bonds) to support a new California veterans' program?

GARY WESLEY

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

Rebuttal to Argument Against Proposition 41

Prop. 41, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act of 2014 redirects existing, unspent bond funds that were previously approved by voters but that have not been used. Prop. 41 does not raise taxes or add to the overall slate debt. Prop. 41 authorizes $600 million to be dedicated to constructing and renovating affordable housing for homeless and near-homeless veterans.

The existing program that these funds come from is badly under used. in fact, a Los Angeles Times editorial said that the original ballot measure that authorized this funding "missed the mark in terms of meeting the needs of the state's veterans." That's why Prop. 41 is essential to veterans it builds the kinds of housing California's veteran population needs, without raising taxes.

This act redirects previously approved, but unused bonds. That means that it doesn't add to California's overall authorized debt. Using these bonds will produce minor financing costs to the state, while leading to savings in social services and healthcare. As the L.A. Times noted. "By reducing the number of homeless veterans and connecting more of them to the rehabilitation and mental health services they need, the bonds could help the state avoid some of the healthcare and social service costs it faces today." The Times also notes these bonds could assist more homeless veterans rejoin the workforce.

This is the fiscally responsible way to do right by California's veterans. Vote YES on Prop. 41 to help California's veterans get the housing they need.

Ed Ford, State Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars, California Department
Peter Cameron, Executive Director, Veterans Resource Center of America
Joseph Garcia, State Commander, American Legion Department of California

Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.

Prop 42