Tuesday, June 22, 2010
We could not help but notice the cover of this weeks TIME MAGAZINE and how elected officials still do not get it. Taxpayers are already giving all they have to give and they still want more money. The lure is Build America Bonds with a subsidized interest rate on the repayment. The costs of repayment are still at or near market rates for tax free municipal bonds. It is just another debt instrument where bankers get more money for underwriting BAB's and taxpayers have to pay a high interest rate. It is a shell game where the payback is hidden from the locals and comes back to the banks with more interest paid to them and more taxes paid by federal taxpayers. BAB's are not a good deal for taxpayers. Even the IRS is questioning the slight of hand going on with these bonds. The Wall Street Journal is saying they are a bad deal.
If our Commsihes decide to hold a special election in August for a jail bond it will cost county taxpayers between $36,000 and $60,000 depending on how many voting places are open for people to cast their votes. Add to this, it costs $84/day to keep someone in the Canyon County jail. Operational costs of a new jail will fall to property owners of the county along with the amortization costs of the bond. Last time around the costs of amortization of the bonds would be about $10,000/day or $3.6 million a year for 20 years plus the operational costs of around $20 million a year for the new jail project voters shot down.
We applaud the Commishes for allowing us to vote and not going behind our backs with the piecemeal approach they were previously using to fund a jail project out of current cash flow. Their seemingly endless flood of money ceased with the implosion of the housing and commercial real estate markets. They don't want to pull in their horns on a jail project they just want more property tax money to fund the project.
Alternative sentencing saves money on the expense side of the ledger as well as the revenue side. Pick and choose who really belongs in jail. It takes some effort to do this but it is far less expensive than locking everyone up at huge taxpayer expense. Most non-violent offenders belong in alternative sentencing options to pay their debt to the courts and society.
The Commishes have another problem besides the jail on their hands. We learned tax collections are behind by 3.5 million or 86% of what they should have by now. People can't pay their taxes and it isn't getting any better. More taxes will push more people over the edge.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 4:13 PM