House Minority Leader Don Turner was the last soldier at the rhetorical Alamo of opposition to the water bill. Even at the last, he was pushing for no new taxes. His idea for a funding source was to divert small amounts of money from various other places and use it to leverage a bond issue.
We’ve been over this before, but I think it’s time to point out exactly how stupid and fiscally irresponsible that idea was.
First of all, his own estimate for his own plan was about $4.2 million, about half the money in the Democrats’ plan. Since the Dems’ plan is designed to be as cheap as possible while still passing muster with the EPA, it’s hard to imagine Turner’s plan gaining its approval.
And as a reminder, if we don’t adopt an acceptable plan, the EPA will come down like a ton of bricks on the only pollution source under its jurisdiction: municipal water treatment. That would be a far more expensive, and less impactful, solution, but it’s the only tool in the EPA’s box.
Okay, beyond the questionable prospects for the Turner plan, the big problem is its dependence on bonds for ongoing expenditures. This is a huge no-no according to the financial whizzes in the state treasurer’s office. Earlier this week, Deputy Treasurer Stephen Wisloski told the House Ways and Means Committee that using bond funds for current expenses is unwise, and a good way to ruin your debt rating. As he put it, “You should make sure the useful life of the asset is at least as long as the life of the bond.”
In simple English: bonding for roads, bridges or buildings GOOD. Bonding for current expenditures BAAAAAAAD. Taking notes, Donnie boy?
And here I thought Republicans were the guardians of fiscal responsibility. In fact, the notion of bonding is a band-aid solution that harms our bond rating in the immediate term and stretches our future finances ever more thinly.
And for what? To avoid a 0.2% tax on property transfers? Yeesh.
I shudder to think how our finances would look if Don Turner or a likeminded Republican was in charge. I certainly wouldn’t look to him for responsible governance.