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