Rep. Moore, Now You Want to Put a School Bond on the Ballot?

Yesterday, during the endless “special session” that the NC General Assembly has been conducting, Rep. Tim Moore brought up his intentions to put a state-wide school bond on the ballot to help with school infrastructure. From Billy Ball of NC Policy Watch yesterday:

State House Speaker Tim Moore announced that he would file a bill to put a $1.9 billion public school bond on the ballot, addressing at least a portion of the state’s capital needs.

According to Moore’s release, $1.3 billion would go to K-12 construction needs, $300 million to the UNC system, and $300 million to North Carolina’s community colleges.

Moore’s press release also said,

“Education is what matters most to families and businesses — to the private and public sectors alike — and North Carolina is poised to build on historic commitments to our schools with another long-term investment in capital construction for our rapidly growing student population,” Moore said in the release.

“Our state’s explosive growth over the past decade brings opportunities and challenges for our school systems. The state General Assembly must continue to meet those needs with investments in our future.”

So one question quickly comes to mind – Why the hell did Moore not support putting the bond on the recent ballot when it was called for by many in the state these past few years?

school-bond

Back in July during the actual long session of the NCGA, Moore claimed that putting a school bond on the ballot would have been too much stress on the budget. From an AP report in the News & Observer on July 11, 2018:

But Moore said some colleagues were concerned about the state accruing the debt. Lawmakers had already agreed this year to a Cooper administration proposal to authorize the issuance up to $3 billion in new debt over 10 years to keep up the current high pace of road-building construction. No referendum was required, and the debt would be repaid with highway-dedicated revenues. Cooper said Tuesday the state can issue both amounts of debt and remain fiscally disciplined.

Ironic that he did not want to “accrue debt” when a ballot measure would put the decision in the hands of the people. Ironic that he did not want to “accrue debt” while helping slash corporate tax rates again that cut revenue into the state budget.

A now after a couple of devastating hurricanes and an election that saw his party lose a supermajority, Tim Moore wants to put the bond on the ballot?

Yes, Moore did mention in July that he thought the bond would be a better idea for next year’s budget, but listening to what he said in the press release yesterday seems to make that mention of intent from July seem political at best.

Moore said in the press release (repeating the above quote),

“Our state’s explosive growth over the past decade brings opportunities and challenges for our school systems. The state General Assembly must continue to meet those needs with investments in our future.”

This has been needed for a decade? And they have been pushing a class-size mandate that would actually force most systems to somehow come up with extra “space” to accommodate the needed expansion?

Ball’s report deftly mentioned that Moore and other lawmakers have been forewarned about the need for more money to help infrastructure.

State officials told legislators nearly three years ago that the school construction tab was expected to balloon to $13 billion by 2026, and that’s before a controversial elementary class size cap may have exacerbated the problem for local districts.

What Moore did was simply politics. And he is using our students as pawns to curry a little favor going into this next year without the luxury of a veto-proof majority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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