This just in: Californians like government projects and government services, but don’t want to pay for them.

That’s the take from a look at the proposed state water bond and the high-speed rail plan in a new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.

When voters were asked if they backed the $11.1 billion water bond now slated for the November 2014 ballot, the feeling was that it was just too darn expensive.

Same with $68 billion high-speed rail project, despite the fact that those same California voters approved a $10 billion state bond for the system in 2008.

But when asked if they would vote for the water bond or high-speed rail at a lower, although unstated, price tag, more than 60 percent of the voters were enthusiastically supportive.

And just to drive the politicians, businesspeople and other Californians who support the projects even battier, 75 percent of those surveyed thought that even the full-price water bond was important for California, with 67 percent feeling the same way about high-speed rail.

So here’s what we have: Solid majorities of Californians believe these two huge public work projects are important to the state’s future. But apparently not important enough to pay for them.

And you wonder why it’s so hard to get anything done in California.

Let’s say the cost could be cut, what then?

Well, a year ago, the projected cost of the high-speed rail project, which begins construction this year, was around $100 billion. A PPIC poll back then found that 51 percent of Californians backed it.

Now, with the $68 billion price tag, support is at 48 percent.

So what’s the magic number where the importance of high-speed rail (or the water bond) outweighs the cost? $50 million? $25 million? $42.87?

Government costs money. It’s the job of politicians to convince the people who will foot the bills that the money will be well spent in a way that helps the state and the people who live there.

Gov. Jerry Brown managed to do that last year when he put Prop. 30 on the November ballot and persuaded the voters that it would staunch the state’s flow of budgetary red ink.

A similar sales job might be needed in 2014 when the water bond is on the ballot.

But the good news in the PPIC poll is that Californians haven’t abandoned big ideas. They know how important it is to look beyond the next state budget or the latest unemployment figures to the future their children will live in.

Voters know what needs to be done, even if they’re reluctant to spend the money they know is needed.

So that leaves it up to the people we elect to tell us the hard truths about what has to be done to make a better California and point out the path to get there.

It’s called leadership.

John Wildermuth is a longtime writer on California politics.