AirTalk for February 21, 2014

Does Gov. Brown's drought proposal address California's long term water needs?

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

California Governor Jerry Brown (R) listens while US President Barack Obama meets with locals at the San Luis Water Facility February 14, 2014 in Firebaugh.

Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a $687 million proposal this week designed to tackle the ongoing drought problem in the state.

The package includes funding for projects to conserve, capture and manage water as well as financial assistance to hard-hit communities. The measures still have to be approved by the legislature and will be paid for with voter-approved bonds and money transferred from other funds. 

RELATED: Gov. Jerry Brown on his plan to ease California's water woes

Controversially, the legislation does not include funding to build new water storage facilities, which some Republicans see as key to a long term strategy. Two leading Republicans in the Assembly, Connie Conway of Tulare and Frank Bigelow (R-O'Neals) called Brown's measures a "drop in the bucket" that would do little to address the long term drought problem. Conway and Bigelow submitted their own proposal on Thursday for a statewide water bond.

A Democratic version of the bond is now scheduled to go to voters in November 2014 but is still being finalized. The Republican plan would authorize nearly $8 billion in general obligation bonds to fund water storage and sustainability projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 

So far, Brown has tried to keep the statewide water bond separate from the immediate drought relief package, but should the two be intertwined? Does Brown's plan do enough to address long term issues like water storage?

Guests:

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-6th District (most of Sacramento County)

Connie Conway (R-Tulare), California State Assemblywoman representing the 26th Assembly District, including Tulare, Visalia and Mountain Park. Conway co-authored a competing statewide water bond measure released on Thursday.


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