Nine proposed constitutional amendments will be on the ballot for Texas voters to consider this November election season. The Texas Tribune has a rundown of the order in which the measures will appear on the ballot and there’s no amendment I am more committed to defeating than the amendment authored by Texas State Senator Tommy Williams and supported by State Senator Troy Fraser. They serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of www.txwaterprop6yes.org. In my opinion, Texans are too burdened with increasing debt levels, the amendment would expand the state bureaucracy, and on principle I object to the notion that any government should serve as a bank making revolving loans.
SJR 1, the Texas Tribune reports, is also known as the Rainy Day Fund Amendment. “The amendment would create two funds to help finance key projects in the state water plan by pulling about $2 billion from the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund.” Let’s take a look at the enrolled bill summary, the fiscal note, and the witness list for more details of the amendment and its supporters.
According to the Enrolled Bill Summary (emphasis mine):
“Senate Joint Resolution 1 authorizes the legislature by general law to authorize the TWDB to enter into bond enhancement agreements payable solely from the state water implementation fund to provide additional security for TWDB general obligation bonds or revenue bonds, the proceeds of which are used to finance state water plan projects, and to use the fund to finance, including by direct loan, water projects included in the state water plan, with Legislative Budget Board (LBB) approval required for each bond enhancement agreement or loan agreement. The resolution also authorizes the legislature by general law to authorize the TWDB to issue bonds and enter into related credit agreements, with LBB approval, that are payable from all revenues available to the state water implementation revenue fund.”
My oh my; Texas elected officials and bond attorneys & their law firms sure love them that thar bond debt, huh? And I’m sure that of the Texas elected officials on this list of Water Texas PAC supporters, none of them work as bond counsel or have campaign contributors that are bond attorneys, right?
BTW, as of July 15th, the TEC shows Water Texas PAC has no reports on file.
And never mind that “as the Comptroller noted last year, local government spending and debt are fast-outpacing population and inflation. Between 2000 and 2009, local debt increased by 144.4 percent while local spending grew by 84 percent; yet population and inflation increased just 44.9 percent.”
But I digress….
According to page two of the Fiscal Note (emphasis mine):
“This legislation would create or recreate a dedicated account in the General Revenue Fund, create or recreate a special or trust fund either with or outside of the Treasury, or create a dedicated revenue source. The fund, account, or revenue dedication included in this bill would be subject to funds consolidation review by the current Legislature.”
Let’s look at two supporters of SJR1 as listed on the Senate Committee Witness List:
- Heather Haward of the H2O4 Texas Coalition (ON) provided written testimony during an April 2013 hearing. The Texas Ethics Commission lists Heather as the Treasurer of the H2O4Texas PAC which, as of its latest July 15th TEC filing has received $275.00 in campaign contributions from none other than… Heather Haward.
- Max Jones, Government Affairs Manager of the Greater Houston Partnership registered FOR but did not testify at the April 2013 hearing. The Greater Houston Partnership if you didn’t already know, was the appellant in the case No. 03-11-00130-CV Greater Houston Partnership v Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General and Jim Jenkins. Yes, THAT Jim Jenkins of The Woodlands Road Utility District series.
Adam Cahnman wrote a blog post against Prop 6 on his blog Cahnman’s Musings and during the Independent Texans meeting in Bastrop this Saturday September 21st their agenda will include a session on Prop 6.
I join with Adam that the “water infrastructure bank” talk equates to Texans being burdened with ever increasing bond indebtedness and I agree with the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts that SJR 1 won’t solve the problems confronting the states’ groundwater districts. I also fundamentally oppose the notion a government should serve as a bank making “historic” revolving loans.
Adam has also published a “History of the Water Boondoggle of 1968″…for you Texas history buffs.
I will be voting NO on Prop 6 and look forward to the candidates for Texas State Comptroller sharing their thoughts as well.