Keep an Eye on This, Rhode Island
I’ve argued again and again, to anybody who would listen, that bond issues on Rhode Island’s ballots are part of a scam whereby the local government spends the money that we’ve allocated to it on non-essentials and then promotes that which it has left undone as evidence of the dire need for more revenue. Anybody who’s slipped into similar pitfalls will understand that this use of debt is reckless. It obligates the user to layer payments for current expenditures into future budgets.
Consider (emphasis added):
“We are on a downward trend,” Transportation Director Michael Lewis said, with revenues for both his agency and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority squeezed by the reliance of both on the state gasoline tax. Revenue from that tax is declining as people drive less and buy more efficient cars.
Meanwhile, the cost of debt service to pay for past borrowing for highway projects is driving other programs out of the limited DOT budget, Lewis said.
What’s the solution? One suspects that the gang that Rhode Islanders continues to elect to office will begin by seeking additional debt. If some hint of sanity slips into their calculations, perhaps they’ll turn to current, rather than future, taxpayers. Either of these approaches will only drive down our economy and drive out our productive class.
The problem is the spending that prevents budget dollars from getting to government essentials in the first place. The solution is, therefore, to slash those expenditures and then ask voters if they’d like to float bonds to cover sweetheart deals and bureaucratic nonsense.