Let The People Vote on Bonding
I recently appeared before the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners to talk about bonding. LIBA has had a long-standing position that our taxing authorities should not issue bonds (issue debt) unless they get approval for the bonds by a vote of the people. Here is what I said regarding a change in state law that is being proposed by the Commissioners:
LIBA is concerned about a legislative change that the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners is considering. The change is item number 4 on the proposed list of 2017 Lancaster County Legislative Priorities.
This change in state law would allow Commissioners to use a special construction levy authority specifically reserved for the construction of county buildings for something other than constructing buildings. It would allow counties to use the special levy to pay for bonds to build bridges without a vote of the people to approve this debt. This is a fundamental change in state law and excludes the voters.
LIBA has been on record saying that bonding should be subject to a vote of the people. The city of Lincoln has issued over $40 million without a vote of the people, and we are trying to change that law because we believe it circumvents the people.
LIBA believes the Lancaster County Commissioners should also consider ALL of the bonding that is coming forward in the next three years.
- $9 million storm water bond issue
- $42 million downtown Library
- $6 million for branch library renovations
- $369 million Southeast Community College bond
- $20 million quality of life parks bonds
- $30-$60 million phase 3 of Lancaster Event Center
We will likely have an LPS Bond in the next 4 years.
LIBA is not saying bonding is the answer for construction of bridges, but if it is, it should be done with a vote of the people.
The County Commissioners did not take the advice from LIBA. The Commissioners voted unanimously (5-0) in favor of changing the state law so they can bond bridges without putting the idea to the voters. LIBA believes this sets a bad precedent and asks you to contact the County Commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIBA would also ask for your support lobbying our state senators. If you are talking with a senator, be sure to tell them that this is a bad idea, and that they should allow the people to vote anytime a county or other government body wants to issue debt that is supported by our tax dollars.
If you like what you read today and would like to be part of the Lincoln Independent Business Association, please give us a call or visit our web site at www.liba.org
LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and our community. If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at (402) 466-3419. LIBA membership is not restricted to just businesses. We also have “individual” memberships for those who want to help influence our local government decisions.
For more information on LIBA, visit Liba.org.