Friday Must Reads: Giant Water Tunnels Plan Could Be Delayed; Governor Opposes Oil Tax Measure

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan for two massive water tunnels in the Delta could be delayed indefinitely because the governor is wary about putting a large water bond on the ballot this year, the Mercury News$ reports. The multibillion-dollar water bond is needed to help fund the massive water tunnels’ plan. But Brown, who is seeking reelection this year, is worried that a large bond measure on the ballot could hurt him politically.

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2. Brown also opposes a plan to create a new oil tax in the state — apparently because of political reasons as well, Capitol Weekly reports. The oil tax, which is backed by billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer, would generate about $2 billion in revenues for the state. Steyer may attempt to launch a ballot-initiative campaign — despite the governor’s opposition.

3. Democrats, meanwhile, are criticizing Brown’s budget plan, arguing that the state should restore more funding to social safety net programs and that the governor’s proposal steers too much money toward debt payments, the Chron reports. Democratic lawmakers also want to spend $1 billion on a universal preschool program for four-year-olds in the state. Republicans, meanwhile, think Brown’s plan to use $10 billion in funds to pay down the state’s debt is insufficient.

4. AC Transit’s board of directors unanimously approved a new contract with bus drivers that calls for 9.5 percent in total raises over three years, the CoCo Times$ reports.

5. And Caltrans is failing miserably in attempts to save wildlife near highways and protect motorists, the Chron reports, citing a new study. Too many deer are wandering onto state highways and getting killed — and hurting motorists — because Caltrans has failed to build fences and wildlife crossings.

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