Are bond issues a good deal for the children or taxpayers? - Texas Scorecard

I realize those who always push for more school spending for projects small to large believe themselves to be acting in the interest of children. I’ll show you why it’s not true when these folk advocate debt spending, in the form of bond issues.

Take Lubbock ISD’s bond proposal. The district says it’s a $198,000,000 bond but it’s not, really. With the interest residents will be compelled to pay, it is a $415,000,000 expense – this they admit. What that means is that every item, for the children, that costs one dollar, residents will pay two dollars and ten cents for. That’s how debt financing works.

Certainly there is a place for public-debt spending through bonds: emergencies. If a disaster were to wipe out enough infrastructure that a local government, whether a school or city, could not effectively operate while citizens were still in need of services, debt can be justified. Another form of emergency for a school district might be massive rapid growth where the tax-base is just coming on-line but there are loads of new students needing to be schooled. Other than those two scenarios everyone loses greatly with debt spending, except of course Wall Street bankers.

Again, taking the Lubbock ISD bond issue (it’s the same for most all others on the ballot), if the district paid down the last of its debt over the next few years, it would then have the ability to use each dollar of tax money to obtain a full dollar of services.

The first money out of each year’s school budget goes not to teachers or education but to debt-service. Actually more than is spent in the community on bond projects, is sent out of the community to Wall Street. With the Lubbock ISD issue, taxpayers pay $2.10 and only get $1 of investment locally.

If we were honestly worried about doing better for our children, we would demand the full $2.10 for them out of every $2.10 spent.

By retiring debt and paying annually, a district such as Lubbock ISD could build a new mega-school, and fund millions in other projects, each year, every year from now on, and get the full value of each dollar spent “for the children” without raising taxes. Too bad most would rather ship off more than 50% of your money to Wall Street and not use it locally “for the children.”

Robert Pratt is host of the top-rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at www.PrattonTexas.com