by Matt Briscoe
Austin–As Texans head to the polls on November 6, they will be deciding on much more than just local, state and national leaders. Voters will be asked to approve or deny billions of dollars worth of bonds around the state.
Political subdivisions across the state are asking voters to decide on bonds ranging from school funding to road and street repair.
In places like Alvin, where voters will be asked to approve $480,500,000 worth of bonds for school improvements and land acquisition, already frustrated residents are being asked to foot the bill for even more expansion.
Taylor Gunter who lives in Alvin is furious.
“In a district with 24,000 students you want us to approve $480,500,000 for expansion on top of what we already owe in debt? I think the district had best damn go put themselves in check before coming and asking me for money” Gunter says. “And they don’t even try and honestly explain this to people.”
Gunter says she feels like her tax dollars would be wasted to benefit new subdivisions that are popping up along Texas 288 and not in Alvin directly. Gunter says the district needs more fiscal accountability before asking taxpayers to pay for even more debt.
According to the Texas Bond Review Board, Alvin ISD places second among schools of similar size when it comes down to the amount of tax supported outstanding debt as of August, 2016. That is the last time that those numbers were made public.
Alvin ISD currently has $999,295,300 dollars worth of outstanding, taxpayer supported debt. That roughly boils down to $45,048 worth of debt per student. A number that might be worth it if taxpayers felt they had something to show for it instead of talk about expansion and new athletic turf.
But it’s not just in Alvin that voters are being asked to foot the bill for additional spending.
Voters in Corpus Christi are being asked to cough up $52,000,000 dollars for much needed street repairs. Residents of that city are already footing the bill for more than $690,000,000 dollars worth of outstanding taxpayer supported debt, with little to show for it.
Longview is asking for over $52,000,000 for new public safety facilities.
The list goes on and on and as a matter of fact, the Texas comptrollers Office has compiled some 73 pages worth of bonds that will appear on ballots around the state.
To learn more about what bonds will appear on your local ballot, you can go to the Texas Comptrollers Office Bond Election Roundup Page and search for bond elections in your area, as well as learn about outstanding debt and the costs of that debt to you–the Texas taxpayer.