By Alan Marchione
On Nov. 5, with their overwhelming rejection of Prop 437, voters sent a strong message to the MUSD, they’ll no longer support a “tax and spend when it’s wanted” ideology. The district needs to heed that message, and re-evaluate its approach to taxpayer funding. The mechanics of Prop 437 were seriously flawed, and voter intelligence greatly underestimated. Operations and maintenance should never be bonded, and in an online post, resident Marty McDonald stated it beautifully, when he referenced this fact as the “murder weapon” for the bond.
As a taxpayer, one of my biggest concern lies with those elected officials in the community that openly supported fleecing the taxpayer with such a failed monetary ideology, and even included their names and statements in the numerous mailers sent to our homes. Do we actually have elected officials in Maricopa that believe financing HVAC systems, school buses and building repairs for 28 years, knowing their life expectancy is half of the bond life, is a wise and appropriate use of taxpayer funds? Sadly, the answer is YES.
We finance homes for 30 years because a home will still be there in 30 years, and if it burns down or is flooded, it’s rebuilt. Think of it this way, had the bond passed… If a child born today were to purchase a home on their 18th birthday, they would be paying property taxes on the bond until they were 28, for items that went out of service when they were 12. Children that aren’t even born yet would be bearing the financial burden long after we had moved on. Common sense, and a long-term vision has to be used when bonding public funds. Instant gratification by way of bonding taxpayer funds, has become the “kick the can down the road” mentality, and is not sustainable.
We need to hold School Board members, and City Councilmembers accountable. Have some of them become so liberal towards the spending of taxpayer monies, and pandering for votes on re-electability, they’ve violated their own principles on being good stewards of our money? If none of us would finance an HVAC system for 28 years with our own money, what would make them think that’s an appropriate decision with other peoples’ money? Pay attention to your local elected officials… It’s what they do that matters, not what they say, or the political games they play. Too many local elected officials are more concerned about being liked, than they are about being leaders; are more interested in telling taxpayers what they want to hear, instead of having the fortitude to tell them what they need to hear. Remember these talking points at the next election.
Regarding the MUSD, the district needs to earn the trust of the taxpayer, and it would be my suggestion if another attempt is made for a bond, learn from this experience, and bond ONLY for a school. However, it would be unwise to make another attempt in 2020, as that would just further alienate vigilant voters. Moving forward in the short-term, the MUSD will need to focus on building the high school its great students and teachers need, while still respecting the fact that they’re spending other people’s money to do it. Public entities don’t have their own money; only money it has taken from us, the taxpayer, and we are not a bottomless source of revenue.
Alan Marchione is a resident of Maricopa.