Valley farmers react to a vote on a water bond

FRESNO, Calif.

The bond was delayed with bipartisan support in both houses. Lawmakers say with the economic climate right now, voters will likely not approve the bond measure this year. But, some farmers believe, the delay will back-fire.

Valley Assemblyman Henry T. Perea applauded the vote, saying it will benefit growers in the long-run. The measure would fund an overhaul of the state's water system; something farmers have been fighting for for years.

Assm. Henry T. Perea said, "I appreciate that because I believe that you're continuing to honor the original deal in this body and that deal was not just about a bond, but it was also a legislative package of bills, policy bills that water districts will now have to incorporate as part of their water management plans."

Lawmakers believe this year's November's ballot is not the right time to ask voters to approve the water bond, given the economy and the governor's proposed tax hike plan. But, Allied Grape Growers president, Nat Di Buduo has his doubts. He said, "It's just a further disappointment in the fact that we need water. We need water for agriculture. We need water for the millions of people that have moved to California."

Others have criticized the decision, saying it paves the way for Brown's eight-billion-dollar tax measure to pass. Republican assemblywoman Connie Conway says that's not the case. "This is about doing the right thing in fighting for water and protecting water and where the governor ends up is neither here nor there. I still don't believe his taxes will pass."

The bill now heads to the Governor's desk for a signature. In the meantime, growers like Nat Di Buduo say, despite the move; he's trying to stay optimistic. "We do what we have to do in life. We just hope it comes to reality sometime sooner than later."

Di Budio hopes once the bill gets on the 2014 ballot, it will have more language regarding water storage.

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