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Let the people vote!
Historically, the citizens of North Carolina have had the opportunity to vote on bond proposals in our state. Now, however, the General Assembly is rushing consideration of a three billion dollar bond issue that bypasses the public’s traditional role in approving the state’s education bond issues. Such a move not only would put the state’s consumers at risk for higher taxes, bypassing the people’s right to vote on the University bond issue will cost taxpayers 40 million dollars and cause a huge $247 million budget shortfall next year.
Here are seven reasons (suggested talking points) why the General Assembly should let the people of North Carolina vote on the three billion dollar University bond issue.
Anyone that saved the taxpayers of North Carolina $40 million would rightfully be hailed a hero. So why would the General Assembly bypass the voters, put them billions of dollars more in debt, risk higher taxes down the road, and make the taxpayers pay $40 million for the privilege? Let the people vote and save the taxpayers $40 million!
"If the $3 billion bond issue is approved, the state is headed toward a $247 million shortfall next fiscal year and a $400 million shortfall the year after that, according to the General Assembly’s General Fund Financial Model." (News & Observer, 7-4-99)
Although the new bonds are said to be targeted toward urgent spending needs, a number of the planned expenditures are far from urgent, including a $6 million indoor tennis and volleyball center, a $10 million music and theater complex, and one million dollars in landscaping at the School of Arts. All totaled, the plan includes more than $100 million for sports and arts projects.
The voters have chosen wisely in the past. North Carolina’s consumers have allowed for the creation of a university system that has a national reputation. We are all proud of our university system. If the case can be made regarding needs, voters will respond.
Placing the state an additional $3 billion in debt could raise taxes. According to our state treasurer it will. In fact, Treasurer Harlan Boyles had this to say last year, "Unless the state’s spending philosophy changes, which of late includes mountains of borrowed money, the next governor of North Carolina will face the largest tax increases or the largest budget reductions ever experienced in our history." Voters should be allowed to vote, especially when their taxes may go up to pay the bill. This is another good reason to let the people vote!
The budget just approved by both houses does not include repayment of the illegal intangibles tax collected by the state between 1991 and 1994. Why should the state be allowed to borrow more money when taxpayers that are owed a refund from an illegal tax have not been repaid? This just does not make sense.
It’s the right thing to do! It’s simple, let the people vote!
There indeed may be some real building needs in the University system, but it was built by the people, paid for by the people, and the people deserve a right to vote because they are the ones that will be making payments on this debt for many years to come. Let the people vote!