"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender."
We don't believe in the concept of "spirit animals," but to the extent that we have a spirit animal in politics, it's Konni Burton:
Texans are saddled with the second highest local government debt burden in the country. Local governments currently borrow through the use of bonds, which are approved by the voters in their jurisdiction. Often these elections are not held during the November general elections when voter engagement and turnout are highest. Despite the low level of voter participation in bond elections, the entire community is responsible for an outcome in which more debt is incurred.Amen Sister; read the whole thing here.
Local governments owe it to their citizens to provide a compelling case for taking on new debt in a way which recognizes and discloses both the ultimate impact on an individual's property tax burden and the entities' current, outstanding debt obligations.
To this aim, I intend to propose legislation requiring local governments to disclose to individuals the impact of a proposed bond on their property tax burden through mail. Further, after this information has been mailed out, the local government must hold a public meeting in which the total fiscal impact of the proposed new debt is explained and the citizens are afforded an opportunity to participate in dialogue on the merits of the proposal. And finally, when citizens go to vote, the ballot must contain information on the proposed new debt, including the average increase in taxes for the properties affected, as well as the total cost to repay the debt.
If we arm citizens with the most complete information, they will be able to make the best decisions for their community and their wallets. Bonds are a necessary tool for financing large projects, but we cannot allow "death by a thousand cuts" for our Texas property owners to continue.