Local Politics

Sunday, May 11 2014 02:00 PM

PRIMARY 2014: Bond would be used to house low-income veterans

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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Proposition 41 on the June ballot asks California voters whether $600 million in existing veterans bonds should be redirected to build, renovate and acquire apartments and multifamily housing for low-income veterans.

At least half the money would be earmarked for "extremely low-income" veterans, defined as about $14,000 a year for a single person in California. All tenants would earn less than 80 percent of the average income adjusted for family size and county, which translates to about $38,000 a year for a single person in California.

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This is one in a series of stories looking at the issues and people voters will see on their primary ballots June 3.

For more of these stories, go to www.bakersfield.com/politics.

The state would use general tax revenue to repay the principal and interest, which the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimates will amount to $50 million over 15 years.

Supporters, including former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and veterans groups, say the measure honors up to 45,000 veterans returning to the state from war -- some without jobs or homes. The Assembly voted 78-0 and the Senate voted 36-0 to place the measure for the ballot.

Donors include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the State Building & Construction Trades Council. They had contributed $44,000 as of the end of April.

Gary Wesley, a Mountain View attorney, was the only one to submit an opposing argument for the secretary of state's voter guide. He said there was potential for mismanagement and waste but also applauded the measure's intent, saying the best way to prevent homelessness among veterans is to avoid "the unnecessary commitment of ground troops into combat."

California has about 15,000 homeless veterans, according to a January 2013 federal government survey cited by the Legislative Analyst's Office.

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