Voters Back $3.1 Million Bond Referenda

Article excerpt

Voters in cities went tot he polls in record numbers to vote not only for a new President and Congress, but also to vote on hundreds of municipal bond referenda plus initiatives to limit taxes and government spending.

Nationwide, voters last Tuesday approved 62 percent of $11.7 billion in proposed state and local bond issues, adopting 238 of 383 bond proposals valued at $7.3 billion. Ninety-three of 140 municipal bond referenda were adopted, giving cities and towns the go-ahead to issue upwards of $3.1 billion in municipal tax exempt bonds, setting both the best success rate and highest dollar volume of any level of state or local government.

For the most part, cities were winners in a series of key initiatives, defeating attempts to limit municipal taxes and spending authority and sending renewed messages to halt unfunded state mandates.

Michigan voters rejected proposals to limit increases in residential property assessments and to roll back school-district taxes, while Idaho voters also rejected a limit on property taxes.

In a major victory for Illinois cities and towns, voters there approved an advisory referendum recommending that the state stop mandating programs on local governments without providing funding.

Oregon voters defeated Measure 7, which would have created a split roll property tax limit.

The worst outcome appeared to be in Colorado where voters adopted a constitutional amendment to limit state and municipal spending to the rate of inflation, adjusted for population growth, and require voter approval for all state and local tax increases, except in certain emergencies.

Colorado voters rejected a school voice plan to allow parents to take public education dollars to private schools. Arizona, after years of bitter conflict, finally created a paid state holiday for the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Massachusetts voters adopted a new excise tax of 25 cents a pack on cigarettes to subsidize smoking-related health programs, but rejected a measure to require recyclable packaging. …