Thursday, January 24, 2008

House Democrats Are Wrong On Referendum

The state legislature is moving on property tax reform but the Senate and House versions are beginning to diverge. The House Democrats decided that referendums should apply to everything but the schools:
Among the biggest changes made: The House voted 50-44, along party lines, to limit referendums on building projects to only those projects not used for education, such as sports stadiums and swimming pools.

Rep. David L. Niezgodski, D-South Bend, offered the amendment, saying he feared schools would suffer with needed buildings left unbuilt.

Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, said limiting referendums tells voters the legislature thinks they're not bright enough to understand what's in their own best interests.
"Do you think the people we serve are stupid or dumb?" Espich asked Niezgodski, who replied that he thought nothing of the sort.

The idea that referendums will kill all school projects is simply not based in reality. Most states have a referendum for bonds and they still build schools.
The fact is nearly half of my property taxes go to the schools so any serious proposal to slow government spending and/or property taxes HAS to account for that.

The best way to account for that is by letting the people vote on how their money is spent. Electing school board members won't get the job done because the public doesn't know what the upcoming expenditures or projects will be and therefore they have no way of determining which candidates they should support. No candidate is going to say "I will never support any project" - their answer is going to be more nuanced, as it should be. Yet that's exactly what proponents against the referendum suggest voters should be able to determine.

Don't be fooled. This is a money issue pure and simple. The ISTA, construction interests, etc are fighting this because it will mean an end to their elitist ways. Allowing the people to determine how their money is spent on massive spending projects should be at the core of the Democratic Party agenda. It saddens me to see that on some levels we're still a party beholden to special interests. It will be up to the Senate to hold their ground and demand that referendums be applied across the board.

In fact call Senator Wyss and let him know that the referendum is a dealbreaker - (800) 382-9467


Robert Enders said...

A building project is more likely to pass a referendum than a remonstrance, for the simple reason that only property owners can sign petitions in a remonstrance.

People who do not DIRECTLY pay property taxes will vote what they think their interests are in referendums. Still, a referendum is better than nothing. This past election show that people will vote for candidates in spite of the projects that the candidate supports or opposes. A lot of people who opposed HS still voted for pro-HS candidates. That is their right. The referendum process would give the people the option of both voting against new projects yet voting for candidates who support those same projects.

Disgusted said...

Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the law was changed to let registered voters sign a remonstrance. A referendum will make a schoolboard candidate actually make a stand on something. If I would have known that GiaQuinta and Corona was going to support the FWCS $500 million bond issue I would not have voted for them. Trust me, I will never vote for them again.

Code Blue Schools said...


Although you are a Democrat you must be ashamed of a party that is willing to screw over the taxpayers at the request of the education establishment and building contractors. Be assured that the 33,000 people who signed blue petitons will know that Win Moses, Phil GiaQuinta and any other local Democratic representatives are for sale.

Jeff Pruitt said...


I am extremely disappointed. I'm not sure what makes each and every person vote the way they do but for the entire body of House Democrats to vote against the people is an outrage...