Letter: Bonds are not free money

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I have seen a steady stream of bond issues appearing on our ballots, and as far as I can remember, I have not seen many that were defeated. I can’t help but wonder how many of those bonds would have been voted down if the people were asked to immediately start funding the repayment of those bonds. In other words, would you have approved the latest bond offerings if the government immediately starting collecting an additional 1 percent or 2 percent increase in your sales tax, the proceeds of which would be set aside and used to pay the bond (and interest) when due? If your answer is no, then it begs the question, how do you propose to pay for these bonds (plus interest) when they come due in five or 10 years? We cannot keep borrowing money today, in the hope that some unknown and unanticipated event is going to occur that will end our government’s fiscal woes and pay for these bonds when they come due.

Even those bonds that include matching funds from other government agencies come with a price tag. If the stated purpose for the bond is a worthwhile cause, then we should be willing to immediately start funding the repayment of those bonds. If we are not willing to do that, then maybe the cause was not as worthwhile as we originally thought.

Steve Mittl