Link to article here. Ms. Ross gets it right when she says bond elections should not be a blank check! She rightly states Texans shouldn’t even be considering bonds when the State has such a BIG surplus…Amen!
So Little to Show
By Tara Ross
Well, I never thought I’d say it, but I agree with Dennis Kucinich. His opening statement in a recent House subcommittee meeting was exactly right.
State and local governments are imprudent and wasteful in the items that they choose to finance with tax-exempt government bonds. The public finds itself deep in debt, often with little to show for it.
As Kucinich noted, a bridge in Minnesota should not collapse while the baseball team down the road gets a new publicly financed stadium. Nor should New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Chicago have publicly financed sports stadiums when nearly 200 structurally deficient bridges can be found in or near these cities.
In two weeks, voters will be asked to cast ballots on several bond propositions. One has to wonder why bonds are being proposed—at all—when Texas has such a big surplus. Future generations should not be saddled with nearly $10 billion in new debt. Texans should prioritize their spending and use the money that they already have on hand.
The most emotionally appealing bond proposition on the ballot is Proposition 15, which promises $3 billion over ten years toward cancer research. Who doesn’t want to cure cancer? And, of course, Lance Armstrong’s appeals on behalf of the bonds are hard to resist. But don’t fall prey to the automatic “FOR!” reflex.
Instead, give some thought to whether this initiative is properly handled by the government, particularly when so many private research facilities already exist. If the bonds are approved, the funds would be used to create the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Do you hear that giant sucking sound?
That’s the sound of cancer research dollars being sucked into overhead for yet another government bureaucracy. Count on many dollars being wasted because the legislature has not created a structure to hold researchers at the Institute accountable.
Indeed, medical research, by its very nature, can’t be effectively benchmarked for success in the way that other projects can be. Finally, even assuming that this item is properly financed with public money, there is no need for taxpayers to take on debt to finance it. Use of the budget surplus would allow taxpayers to save as much as $1.6 billion in interest that would otherwise need to be paid to bondholders.
Another emotionally appealing bond proposition is Proposition 2, which would provide money for student college loans. Again, voters should stop and think before going with the automatic “FOR” reflex. Student loans are already available from many sources, including the federal government. Indeed so many loans are available that the supply/demand curve in higher education has been thrown off.