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Schwarzenegger wants water bond off November ballot [Updated]

June 29, 2010 |  3:09 pm

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday asked the Legislature to take the $11 billion water bond off the November ballot.

"It's critical that the water bond pass, as it will improve California's economic growth, environmental sustainability and water supply for future generations," Schwarzenegger said in a statement Tuesday. "For that reason, I will work with the legislature to postpone the bond to the next ballot and avoid jeopardizing its passage.”

There is precedent for lawmakers delaying votes on measures they have put on the ballot themselves. A high-speed rail bond was delayed three separate times by lawmakers who feared earlier votes would have jeopardized the bond's passage. Proponents of the water bond had concerns that asking voteres to approve a new, $11 billion bond while the state faces a massive budget deficit and unemployment is near record highs might be politically problematic.

[Updated: 2:56 p.m.] Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) agreed the vote should be delayed. "

"Given the challenges currently facing California, I agree with the governor the water bond should be postponed,’’ Steinberg said in a written statement.

Anthony York in Sacramento