Something big is missing from a pro-bond political action group’s advertising in favor of a massive May debt proposition: the cost to taxpayers.
“VOTE ‘YES’ COLLIN COLLEGE BOND,” blares a pushcard paid for by Citizens For Collin College, a specific-purpose political committee that’s urging passage of a bond for “a significant campus expansion program.” Yet nowhere does it mention the amount of debt voters are being asked to approve – a whopping $600 million, plus interest.
Citizens For Collin College’s GoFundMe page, which shows a single, $100 donation, also fails to mention the proposed bond’s hefty $600 million amount.
To be fair, it would be poor salesmanship for a group promoting the bond’s passage to mention the enormous amount of taxpayer debt it allows, or the fact that if voters approve the huge, all-or-nothing bond, district officials will be free to spend the funds with no further voter approval.
The proposed ballot language for the “For” or “Against” vote reads as follows:
PROPOSITION NO. 1:
THE ISSUANCE OF $600,000,000.00 BONDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSTRUCTING, IMPROVING, RENOVATING AND EQUIPPING SCHOOL BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT AND ACQUIRING REAL PROPERTY THEREFOR, AND THE LEVYING OF A DEBT TAX IN PAYMENT THEREOF NOT TO EXCEED TWELVE CENTS ($ 0.12) ON EACH ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($100.00) OF ASSESSED VALUATION OF TAXABLE PROPERTY.”
Citizens For Collin College also claims “no projected tax rate increase”’ will result from the bond’s passage. Yet the ballot language authorizes the Collin County Community College District to raise its property tax rate by up to 12 cents to repay the debt – not to mention the interest expense. Neither the ballot language nor the bond’s boosters mentions interest.
Whether repaid with a tax rate increase or with tax revenue increases due to rising property values and growth, that $600 million plus interest is taxpayer money that could be used to fund other county projects – or left in the hands of Collin County taxpayers to spend on their families’ priorities.
Regardless of whether or not the bond passes, it’s likely taxpayers will continue to pay more in tax dollars to the district. Despite paying off debt and lowering its overall tax rate over the last five years, tax burdens have actually increased 19.6 percent.
The $600 million bond proposition will be on Collin County’s May 6, 2017 ballot, along with candidates for the Collin College Board of Trustees.