Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said today he will work to postpone the vote on the $11.1 billion water bond, now on the November ballot, to 2012 to "avoid jeopardizing its passage."
"After reviewing the agenda for this year, I believe our focus should be on the budget -- solving the deficit, reforming out of control pension costs and fixing our broken budget system," he said in a statement. "It's critical that the water bond pass, as it will improve California's economic growth, environmental sustainability and water supply for future generations."
The statement from Schwarzenegger, one of the primary backers of the measure, comes as lawmakers are reportedly considering putting up a vote to bump the bond off the November ballot. Lawmakers approved the bond as part of last year's package of water policy and infrastructure bills.
UPDATE 3:42 p.m.: The campaign backing the water bond has issued a statement in support of the delay:
"The water bond represents a truly comprehensive solution to fix the problems in the Delta, increase conservation and recycling, and expand the availability and quality of water supplies in every region of the state," Jim Earp, co-chair of the coalition backing the bond, said in a statement. "We're confident that when presented to voters, they will approve the measure. However, in light of the economic situation, we agree with the governor and legislative leaders that the best timing for the water bond is in 2012. We support postponing the bond to 2012."
UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg also supports pushing back the bond.
"Given the challenges currently facing California, I agree with the Governor the water bond should be postponed," he said in a statement.