Monday, October 15, 2007

Arguments you won't hear in TV ads about new prisons and Proposition 4

As Texans prepare to vote on Proposition 4 that will finance construction of three new adult prisons and a variety of sundry construction projects, including a new Texas Youth Commission lockup and improvements at old ones the Legislature chose not to fund from the surplus. (The biggest items in Prop 4 by far are new prisons and fixing up DPS crime labs.)

Particularly annoying, not to mention fiscally irresponsible, I don't understand why the Legislature is asking voters to issue debt to pay for maintenance and repairs at several state agencies. Shouldn't facility maintenance costs come out of the biennial budget? Since when do we borrow for such things in Texas? Whatever happened to "Pay as you go"?

Anyway, as the vote approaches, thanks to The Back Gate for re-posting this video explaining why Texas prison guards opposed new prison construction this year at the Legislature: If you can't staff the prisons you've got, how can we afford to build more?

See also this one, from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, making many of the same points:

You're not going to see any TV ads for or against new prisons, or most of the rest of the bond proposals, I'd guess, so for those who care, educate yourself.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for edifying me! I didn't realize that they were looking for maintenence costs through issuing bonds either. That doesn't make sense. That is a line item in the budget for our prisons, I believe. I hope the League of Women Voters puts out a guide to the propositions in time for us to understand what we're being asked to pay for!

Anonymous said...

The current leadership in the Lege has not only never heard of "pay-as-you-go" but they have saddled us with horrendous amounts of debt, through such bond initiatives that we will be decades getting out from under it.

Using bonds for maintenance is technically illegal and unconstitutional, but this Lege has ignored both for as long as I can remember.

The only thing I can do is encourage people to "vote the bastards out!"

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the mystery has a simple solution. The builder makes as much constructing an empty prison as a filled one.

Like the man said in the song, it's money that matters.

Anonymous said...

Educate yourselves @

Quit allowing the lege to dress up a pig in a tux and tell us it's not a pig.