Mar 092016

What’s not to love, folks? The availability of low cost money is burning a hole in our legislators pockets. It is after all an election year, spending your tax dollars is how many of them get re-elected.

Just listen to how many times they promise not to raise taxes.

Legislators love bonds, they get to spend taxpayers money without any downside! Though this bond appears to some people as just a money pit to drop everyone’s wish-list projects into.

But money is so cheap to borrow! (Que the Net Present Value of Money marching band.) “It’s cheaper to build now than 5 years from now!” It matters not whether there is need or justification for the expenditures. The bond skips all the politics. Do note the lack of Democrat opposition.

In fact, for those projects not specifically listed in the bond bill, legislators have left the dirty little details to faceless and nameless bureaucrats to decide and authorize. (Bond Rule 1: Escape the blame for spending.)

It’s all feel good stuff and we don’t have to raise your taxes.

Some folks are annoyed  about bait’n switch on road bond portion of the original proposal, legislators saying the state doesn’t need it. Not when TOLL Roads are the rage. Texas toll road bankruptcy provides warning on Monroe Bypass Besides our more responsible legislators won’t be stealing from the road trust fund anymore. Remember the one about lowering the Gas Tax?

Just look at the chart below that breaks out the bond spending. Almost a billion goes to goes to the UNC system in addition to the approximately $2.5 billion of the annual state budget.

Ask yourself how much will the annual service cost of a $1 billion in UNC new construction add to the operating costs; power, heat and maintenance? Where is the revenue coming from? Hikes in tuition?

If you scroll though the authorization bill, below, you will note funding amounts are not uniform especially for the Community Colleges. So who decides the validity of the project? The fourth arm of government – the bureaucracy.

I posted this link on the VSO Facebook page: What is the university system hiding on Connect N.C. bond? This letter to the editor is by NC House Rep. Mark Brody (R-55). Rep. Brody writes about the UNC system expenditures with a number of concise bullet points concerning the waning student enrollment.

1. Eight of the campuses receiving $679 million total have increased student population over the last six years, but at a paltry rate, most less than 2 percent total for the six-year period, two campuses growing less than 1 percent total over the last six years (2010-15).

2. The other five campuses receiving $246 million total have lost student population over the last six years, the least by 1.05 percent and the highest by 24 percent.

3. The classroom vacancy rate for the eight campuses increasing student population ranges from 26.8 percent to 53.8 percent and the lab vacancy rate ranges from 24.1 percent to 41.9 percent.

4. The classroom vacancy rate for the five campuses decreasing in student population ranges from 31.8 percent to 51.6 percent and the lab vacancy rate ranges from 23.9 percent to 47.3 percent.

“Build it and they will may come.”

NC Choice Bond spending

I have recommended that voters vote against the bond, because the legislators cannot justify or show need in many cases for the expenditures. Nor can the $100 million annual debt service be justified, in addition the outstanding bonds repayments already being paid every year.

Don’t forget, politicians have very short memories when it comes to the money they spend.  The easier the passage the sooner they will be back to the taxpayers trough. And to make matters even worse, once again Union County is a donor county as there is very little likelihood that any money is being spent here.

Finally, have you noted all the advertising, mailers and TV spots supporting the bond passage? WHO IS PAYING FOR THAT?

Do yourself a favor and Vote against the bond, make our legislators responsible.

NCGA Bond Bill

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