SCHOOL BOND BLUES: The real money to watch is in the countless local bond issues that now encumber California taxpayers with over $250 billion in debt.
Ed Ring | California Policy Center
“As the result of California Courts refusing to uphold the language of the High Speed Rail bonds, the opponents of any bond proposal, at either the state or local level, need only point to High-Speed Rail to remind voters that promises in a voter approved bond proposal are meaningless and unenforceable.”
– Jon Coupal, October 26, 2014, HJTA California Commentary
If that isn’t plain enough, here’s a restatement: California’s politicians can ask voters to approve bonds, announcing the funds will be used for a specific purpose, then they can turn around and do anything they want with the money. While there’s been a lot of coverage and debate over big statewide bond votes, the real money is in the countless local bond issues that collectively now encumber California’s taxpayers with well over $250 billion in debt.
Over the past few weeks we’ve tried to point out that local tax increases — 166 of them on the Nov. 4 ballot at last count, tend to be calibrated to raise an amount of new tax revenue that, in too many cases, are suspiciously equal to the amount pension contributions are going to be raised over the next few years. For three detailed examples of how local tax increases will roughly equal the impending increases to required pension contributions, read about Stanton, Palo Alto and Watsonville‘s local tax proposals. It is impossible to analyze them all.
As taxes increase, money remains fungible. More money, more options. They can say it’s for anything they want. And apparently, bonds are no better.