Bonds authorize benefits for veterans
Proposition 12 issues $900 million in loans
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Updated: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 15:10
Proposition 12, also known as the Veterans' Bond Act of 2008, would authorize California to issue $900 million in bonds to loan state veterans for the purchase of homes or farms if passed.
Emily Smith, press secretary for state Sen. Mark Wyland, said that since 1921, voters have given approval to issue general obligation bonds to finance the Cal-Vet Home Loan Program.
More than 3,600 veterans would benefit from these bonds in addition to the 420,000 who have already been supported by the Cal-Vet Program. According to the California Voter Information Guide, 26 Veterans' Bond Acts have passed in the last 85 years, assisting those who have served in the military in becoming homeowners.
"They sacrifice," said Kevin Spillane, spokesman for Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian. "We owe them a debt of gratitude."
According to a press release from Wyland's office, the Cal-Vet Home Loan Program's funding will soon be depleted without the bonds Prop. 12 would guarantee.
The State Department of Veterans Affairs would use the money from the bonds to buy the homes and farms, Smith said. Veterans would pay off the loans through monthly mortgage payments to the department.
Payments would cover all the costs from the purchase of the properties, the bonds, interest from bond sales, and for the operation of the Cal-Vet program, according the California Voter Information Guide.
Opponent to Prop. 12 Gary Wesley makes his argument against the program in the California Voter Information Guide. He warns that taxpayers would have to cover the costs should a veteran miss a payment.
In the 26 bonds that have passed since 1943, though, "it has never happened," Smith said of veterans missing a payment.
Media Director for the Libertarian Party of California Dan Minkoff warns that even though the Cal-Vet Program has a "good track record," he said, veterans could encounter trouble with the current state of the economy and miss a payment.
"In these tougher financial times," he said, taxpayers should not be responsible for making up those payments.
Wesley also argues in the California Voter Information Guide that not all veterans are deserving of this program. From Wesley's perspective, only those who have seen combat or have been in a combat zone should be able to acquire loans from Prop. 12.
"It's a very odd statement to make," Spillane said of Wesley's argument.
What worries Minkoff is the lack of specificity in the language behind Prop. 12.
"We're not anti-veteran," he said. The details should not be left up to the politicians who have trouble already managing taxpayer money, Minkoff said.
Sen. Wyland sees Proposition 12 as the least the state can do "to express appreciation" for what veterans have done for this country, Smith said.
Wesley could not be reached for comment by press time.
Contact Ryan Jacques at firstname.lastname@example.org.