Anti-Bond Protestors Vote NO to Borrowing Billions

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

At an anti-bond rally Monday night, the Virginia Conservative Alliance said the referendums would mean $90 million a year in interest payments for Virginian taxpayers.

President of the VCA, Patrick McSweeney, quoted Thomas Jefferson. “He said, 'Never buy something just because it's cheap.'

But with interest rates so low, many elected officials across the state say now is the time to borrow $1 billion to improve Virginian universities and parks.

"If we borrow our way to prosperity," he said, "there's no end to the borrowing. Where do you draw the line?"

McSweeney is against the general obligation bond referendums on Tuesday's ballot. Those in favor say the bonds will renovate classrooms, create jobs, boost the economy, protect the environment and increase tourism.

But McSweeney says the bonds will instead hike taxes and slash more important state programs.

"Politicians love to divorce burden from benefit," he said. "They want to be around for bright new buildings and parks, and the burden is shifted to someone else's watch."

Most state leaders are calling the bonds conservative, but McSweeney says the opposite is true.

"It's like giving a kid a credit card. They soon realize they have to pay that debt back."

Bond proponents point to the 14,000 new jobs the projects could create, but others aren't so convinced.

"More money into construction means less money into instruction," said local businessman, Walter Curt.

Warren Dillenbeck, an advocate in Virginia school choice initiatives, agreed. "Is it buildings that educate our kids, or is it faculty that educates our kids?" he asked.

Opponents say the new buildings will mean operating costs that the state can't afford. Gov. Warner, however, has said that these bonds are within Virginia's budget capacity.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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