Bonds demystified: Watch what a bond measure is, in under 2 minutes

Mar 6, 2020 | Government

By Byrhonda Lyons and Judy Lin | CalMatters

Seemingly every state election, California voters are asked to approve a new bond measure. They add up to billions for schools, veterans, housing, children’s hospitals and more.

The newest — Proposition 13, a $15 billion bond for school and college facilities — is on the March 3 ballot.

But more than a few voters are befuddled by how bonds work — unsure about whether it amounts to free money or a flat-out tax increase (neither when it comes to state bonds, although local bonds can directly raise taxes).

Our video walks you through the basics of what you need to know to size up any California bond not numbered 007. is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

The author wrote this for CalMatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters.


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