Thursday, November 01, 2007

Constitutional amendments: an opposing viewpoint

My man David offers a his usual cogent opinion on the Texas constitutional amendments appearing on next Tuesday's ballot -- or sooner than that if you're an early voter. He endorses several 'against' votes, including Propositions 12 ($5 billion in bonds to be issued to the TxDOT for road maintenance) and 15 ($3 billion for a new cancer research and prevention facility). I'll excerpt his analysis on those two below and refer you to Bluedaze, who has the full list:


Proposition 12 – I begin with Proposition 12 because it is the worst of the worst. In this proposition, we are being asked to amend Article III, Section 49 of the Constitution in order to permit the Texas Department of Transportation to sell 5 billion dollars worth of bonds. This is the same agency that today, this very day, is cynically and arrogantly using your and my tax dollars in a high-pressure marketing campaign designed by a political consulting firm to convince us that we want toll roads; in complete disregard of the fact that government is supposed to follow the will of the people, not the other way around. This is the same agency that intends to tear up our beautiful Texas with the most gigantic land grab in history, the Trans-Texas Corridor, so that Texas will turn from a state into a highway and the people and farms of Texas will turn into the highway’s butlers. This is the same agency that Slick Rick Perry uses as his personal toy for the pleasure of the special interests, both domestic and international, whose moneys are expected to continue funding the political ambitions of Slick Rick and his new patron, Rudy Guliani (and it is such a coincidence that the international corporate law firm of Bracewell Guliani is legal counsel to CINTRA). Let’s put it this way – if you trust TXDOT and Rick Perry, then by all means do cast your vote to amend the Texas Constitution to allow TXDOT to indebt your children to paying off 5 billion dollars more for TXDOT to build toll roads and the Trans-Texas Corridor with. But if you don’t think TXDOT and Rick Perry have earned your trust, then get off your duff and tell everyone you can think of to vote against Proposition 12.

Proposition 15 – This Amendment of Article III of the Texas Constitution would authorize the issuance of up to 3 billion dollars in bonds for a new Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, to research the causes and prevention of cancer. There is no doubt in my mind that it would a good thing to have this. However, I object to the borrow-and-spend philosophy. The State of Texas has a fiscal surplus and could pay for this project out of general revenues without selling bonds. The interest on 3 billion dollars in bonds will be 1.6 billion dollars. Thus the project is not a 3 billion dollar project, it is a 4.6 billion dollar project, to be paid for by future taxpayers. No explanation has been offered as to why the legislature did not fund this project directly out of the existing fiscal surplus. I submit that the explanation is the political convenience of passing the responsibility for spending decisions off to the future. The Texas Cancer Prevention and Research Institute is a worthy project for Texas. It is worthy of being paid for directly out of existing general revenues, rather than engaging in the scam of selling bonds. The corporate law firms that prepare governmental bond issues pull in very large fees in one of the most atrocious rackets in the legal-governmental world. Those same law firms often make large political donations out of their law firm PACs. This proposed bond issue is very likely another example of the hogs wallowing deep in the public troughs while claiming all kinds of feel-good notions to gain themselves entry. Tell the legislature to come back in 2009 and fund this project straight up in the open, as it deserves. Vote NO to passing the buck.


Again, read all of the Van Os endorsements at Bluedaze.

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