May142018

Bonds Rip-Off Taxpayers

by Lou Binninger

Plumas Lake Elementary School District wants its voters to approve issuing $20 million in bonds to be used when the district needs them for a new middle school. The approval would trigger additional funding from the state. For approval, Measure G needs 66.7% of those going to the polls to agree.

The district doesn’t state what the bonds will cost in interest when they are paid off in 2051-52. Does anyone care about how much they overpay for an item when they borrow to acquire it? Maybe just the WW II generation worried about such numbers.

The bond would cost property owners $72 per $100,000 of assessed value or $216 for a $300,000 piece of real estate every year until 2051-2052. That amounts to an additional $7,680 on property taxes and fees over 30 years. Most adults will not be around to pay the bonds off, but future property owners will inherit the debt.

Longtime Yuba County residents are shocked at the exorbitant property taxes in newer developments like Plumas Lake and Edgewater. One Plumas Lake resident in a modest home has a $3,600 property tax bill that includes multiple school, Yuba College and levee bonds along with Mello-Roos development fees. She is voting against Measure G.

She said the taxes are too high and the schools still have ample space. The district says its three schools have a capacity of 1650-1750 students with a current enrollment of 1270. However, their numbers are based on keeping K-3 classes at less than 24 students and grades 4-8 at 28 pupils or less.

The district notes that building permits for new homes have increased in each of the last 3-years along with enrollment. Residents wonder if portable classrooms couldn’t be added with minimum costs when needing increased capacity thereby putting-off adding more debt on taxpayers.

Another factor wasting 20%-30% of the borrowed money used for construction labor is the federal requirement to pay union wages on any jobs affiliated with government. Rather than getting the best quotes based upon qualified contractors bidding on the same blueprints, the wages are dictated by the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, originally a racist law designed to keep black contractors out of the building trades.

It came about when a contractor employed African-American workers from Alabama to build a Veterans' hospital in the New York District of Congressman Robert Bacon. Prompted by concerns over the displacement of local employees by black migrant laborers and competitive pressure toward lower wages, Bacon introduced the first version of his bill in 1927.

African American labor was much cheaper than the going rate. Blacks were said to be less productive. However, the government could not leave the decision up to the project owner to choose lower labor cost and slower production versus the alternative. The anti-free market Congressman had to tip the unions, use a little social engineering, a little crony capitalism, and a little corruption.

The aim of the act, similar to minimum wage legislation, was to make sure that white labor was preferred over African Americans on such projects. Wage rates were fixed at the higher level of the more productive labor, meaning that it would be the more efficient, white labor that was employed.

This racist move to discriminate robbed all Americans of both freedom and finances.

The $20 million school bond proposal of course does not explain that taxpayers will overpay on labor costs not counting the waste in the state’s contribution by paying mandated government-rigged Davis-Bacon wages.

The government needs to repeal Davis – Bacon and give the job to the lowest bidder regardless of the contractor’s ethnicity, union affiliation or worker pay. Government’s role in public schools should be to set construction standards and that’s it.

Newer developments like Edgewater, Plumas Lake and such are burdened with egregious fees. Hiked costs due to layer after layer of regulations and environmental requirements have priced most young people out of the housing market. Now the schools want to add to that burden.

California needs reform at every level. We need a revolution not another bond.

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