In California, we often pass multibillion-dollar environmental bonds and don’t look back at who benefited from the spending. But what if we could look back and learn? And then make smarter investments in the future?
At UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, we did a systematic analysis of spending under Proposition 84, the last major environmental bond approved by California voters, which in 2006 authorized $5.4 billion to improve parks, natural resource protection, and water quality, supply and safety. Most of that money has been spent. And for the first time ever, we have good enough data to ask some crucial questions.
Where was that funding spent? Who benefited? And was the spending prioritized as voters expected?