Why everyone should vote AGAINST the bond

Why everyone should vote AGAINST the bond
March 03
00:00 2016

Nicole Revels

Guest Columnist 

On the March 15 primary election ballot, NC residents will be asked to vote for or against a proposal to borrow 2 billion dollars in the form of a bond. I intend to vote AGAINST the bond.

A bond is not free money. It’s a method of spending money now and leaving future generations of taxpayers to pick up the tab later. Many legislators are supporting the bond because it’s a way for them to spend money on grandiose projects and earn political points back home while not having to claim the expenditures as an operating budget spending increase.

The problem is that they’re piling debt onto today’s children. Another term for this is deferred taxation. It is a much more fiscally responsible practice to prioritize items by their importance and pay as we go.

There is no transportation nor k-12 education funding within the bond. I emphasize that fact because many voters have been misled by pro-bond marketing, which describes the measure as an “infrastructure and education” funding bill.

The bond was originally proposed as a transportation funding bill titled “Connect NC,” but by final adoption, all road funding was stripped from the bill, a move that some legislators have dubbed a “bait and switch.”

Bond proponents tout the necessity of the water/sewer line item within the $2 billion bond package, but there is actually no specific allocation within the bond legislation for any single water/sewer project. The plan is to place $309 million into a fund to hold onto for future allocation once a municipality applies to receive them. It makes no sense for our state to borrow money simply to store it away for potential future redistribution to municipalities, paying millions in interest in the meantime!

There’s also a section of the bill titled “reallocation,” which enables legislators to change the bond money allocations after the bond is passed. Such a provision means that voters have no guarantee that what they think they’re voting on is what the funding will actually be used for. North Carolina’s history with the gas tax being diverted to purposes other than roads should remind us that we need better guarantees over allocation before signing off on a blank check.

Sixty-six percent of the $2 billion will be given to the N.C. university and community college systems for new buildings and renovations. Very few details of the specific projects have been revealed. Whether community colleges are renovating classrooms or building tennis courts and swimming pools with the bond money, we do not know. Community colleges are not required to submit their specific multi-million dollar projects for which the funding will be used until after the bond is approved by voters!

The bond is an omnibus spending bill for items that should be considered individually and funded during the budget adoption process based on their own merits. The taxpayers of North Carolina will be forced to pay the $2 billion debt and interest, whether by direct tax increase or by taking money away from other future priorities in order to pay for the projects of today.

Bond proponents claim that adopting this bond is equivalent to a household adopting a mortgage to purchase a home. That claim has no merit. The entirety of this bond is less than 10 percent of our state’s annual operating budget. There’s no logical comparison of this bond and our state budget to the cost of a home to a household budget. North Carolina households have to be resourceful with our budgets, and legislators need to do the same. Vote AGAINST the $2 billion bond debt proposal.

Nicole Revels is director of NC Against the Bond, based in Louisburg, NC. The organization’s email is and website is

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