Voters in Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, and New York to decide a combined $5.16 billion in bond issues in 2020

Seven bond issues (totaling $5.16 billion combined) are on the ballot for voters in Maine, on July 14, and Colorado, New Mexico, and New York on November 3.

A bond issue is a measure placed on the ballot by the state or local government that asks voters to approve the issuance of bonds. A bond is a debt in which the issuer owes the holders a debt and is obligated to repay the principal and interest at a later date.

Voters in California rejected Proposition 13 on March 3, 2020. Prop. 13 would have authorized $15 billion in general obligation bonds for school and college facilities. Proposition 13 was defeated by a vote of 47% in favor to 53% opposed. Proposition 13 was the first statewide education-related bond issue that California voters rejected since 1994.

Two bond issues are on the July 14 ballot in Maine. Question 1 would authorize $15 million in general obligation bonds for the ConnectME Authority to provide funding for high-speed internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas. Question 2 would authorize $105 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure projects.

A bond issue is on the November ballot in Colorado that would authorize $1.837 billion in bonds to fund statewide transportation projects.

Three bond issues are on the November ballot in New Mexico as a bond package. The package includes $156.3 million in bonds for public higher education institutions, special public schools, and native tribal schools; $9.7 million in bonds for public libraries; and $33.29 million in bonds for senior citizens’ facilities. The total amount of the bonds is $199.29 million.

A bond issue in New York is on the November ballot that would issue $3 billion in general obligation bonds for projects related to the environment, natural resources, water infrastructure, and climate change mitigation.

From 2008 through 2019, 113 bond measures (totaling $77.1 billion) were on the ballot. Voters approved 105 of the measures ($53 billion) and rejected eight of the measures ($24 billion). The year with the highest dollar amount of total bonds on the ballot was 2018, where voters across six states voted on 18 bond measures totaling $29.1 billion. Voters approved 15 of the measures ($20.2 billion). Of the 113 bond issues, 95 were on even-year ballots and 18 were on odd-year ballots.

In even years from 2008 to 2018, 95 bond issues totaling $76 billion were on the ballot in 16 states. Of the 95 measures, 87 were approved ($51.94 billion) and eight ($24.06 billion) were defeated. In odd years from 2009 to 2019, 18 bond issues totaling $1.1 billion were on the ballot. All were approved.

The states with the most bond issues on the ballot from 2008 to 2019 were Maine (34), Rhode Island (22), New Mexico (22), and California (11).

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About the author

Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell is a state ballot measures staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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