Bond Issue Issues

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I am not satisfied by media reported reasons to vote for or against bond issues on the November ballot. Some of these reports resemble news releases for new products on the market or one-sided public relations announcements from corporations or celebrities.

The famous Roman Forum was a public meeting place and marketplace. So, I suppose that a place to sell an idea or a slate of bond issues is a function of a marketplace; therefore, one function of a forum. A marketplace is where people pick and choose what they will buy from among the many offerings.

There are several forums about the eleven proposed bond issues. Are speakers from both sides of the issues being invited to speak? Will different opinions be expressed? Will questions be answered accurately? Will moderators be neutral? I truly hope so.

If there are speakers for the eleven Bond Issues on the ballot in Guilford County in November, should there also be speakers against some of the Bond Issues? Everyone has a vested interest in these outrageous expenses being proposed. Some of them are only necessary because of irresponsible monetary and fiscal policies of government. Some are wants, not really needs of our area. Some can enhance the quality of life here, others will not.
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Whether to authorize or not to authorize Municipal Bond sales (borrowing money to be paid back by tax revenues) should be decided by a well-informed public, based on the good of the community as a whole, as well as personal interest.

If you want to pay more taxes for a project that you think would benefit our community, then do so. If there are others that you feel are essential services that should be provided by government, and you think that there is no good way to fund them under current tax rates, then vote for those bonds.

Some questions to ask before voting:

Is tax money currently being spent wisely?
How will the proposed bond money be spent?
What is the actual texts of the proposed bond issues?
Will the bond issue money be supplemented by general revenues?
Will some of the projects be worked into the general budget, even if not funded by bonds?
What are the restrictions on spending certain bond money?
How long will it take to pay-off the bonds?
Who is providing space for public forums?
Who is speaking at public forums and how are they chosen?

A forum about bond issues should be a place for taxpayers to exchange their views and receive relevant information. A forum should not be a session where citizens are force fed reasons to vote for tax increases by representatives who have vested interests in some of the referendum issues at hand or a coalition of such groups.

I am not encouraging anyone to vote only on pocketbook issues, but a thinking public cannot continue to reward bad spending decisions by increasing the allowance of government. Think about it.

forum
A public place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.

coalition
An alliance or union, especially a temporary one. A temporary alliance for combined action.

vested interest
A personal stake or involvement in an undertaking or state of affairs, especially one with an expectation of financial gain. A person or group having such a personal stake or involvement.

1 comment:

Joe Guarino said...

Excellent post, Diane. I hope people will be thinking seriously-- and with some skepticism-- about these proposals over the next several weeks.