Advocates like to say voting for new General Obligation Bonds “won’t increase your taxes.” That’s technically true, because they’re replacing already-spent bonds that increased your taxes last time you voted for GO Bonds.
The omission is the buried lede. New bonds are funded by your tax dollars. Not voting for them means your taxes will fall.
If you need a reason not to fork over more of our hard-earned money, just look what the city has done with our money so far.
No business owner would ever invest in infrastructure that didn’t eventually pay for itself, yet the city can’t stop building money pits to throw your money into.
The infamous Railrunner comes to mind. The Gibson Homeless Shelter. Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART). These are boondoggles Albuquerque voters are still paying for, and they are perfect examples of the kind of projects your leaders prioritize over parks and libraries and water conservation. (And there’s another one on the ballot next Tuesday: a $50 million soccer stadium that Albuquerque could never fill.)
Not that every dollar mentioned here came from voter-approved GO bonds. The point is that a city’s request for more tax dollars is an admission of poor financial stewardship.
From a fiscal standpoint, the city doesn’t deserve more of your money. If it needed $3.3 million to buy low-income housing and $1.1 million for transportation bonds, it could have used the $5 million it blew on the “Tiny Home Village” that still sits mostly empty.
If the city needed $21 million in GO bonds for street improvements, it could have funded that several times over with the money wasted building and maintaining ART.
If it really needed $28 million for a community center and homeless shelter, what was the point of spending nearly $20 million on the still-empty Gibson Homeless Center?
The city has been spending millions every year to build and maintain facilities and services for the homeless, and it has only made the situation worse. This not rocket science. Build it and they will come. The city has built it, on your dime, and the homeless population only increases.
From a philosophical standpoint, growth happens from the bottom up, not from the government down.
Citizens have always been the prime movers of everything from social change to technology to commerce. That’s because you know best how to spend your money.
Instead of handing the government another blank check, spend it yourself. Spend it on businesses you support and services you need. The infusion of that money into the local economy is what grows businesses, creates jobs, and increases wages.
And best of all it encourages fiscal responsibility.
If the government knows it can appeal to your sense of “community” or “charity” or general liberal “do-gooderism” with half-truths about “not increasing your taxes” through perpetual bond measures, it will never learn to live with an already generous pool of tax revenue.
Send a message, and do your community a favor by spending your tax dollars where you want, not where bureaucrats think you should.