My Turn

Opinion: Who says bonds are boring?

By Bill Knief, Taos
Posted 9/13/18

The upcoming local, state and national election on Nov. 6 is an important one no matter what your party affiliation. But on the back of the ballot, where it is very easy to overlook, a small item is …

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My Turn

Opinion: Who says bonds are boring?

Posted

The upcoming local, state and national election on Nov. 6 is an important one no matter what your party affiliation. But on the back of the ballot, where it is very easy to overlook, a small item is listed that promises big opportunities for New Mexicans (and Taos County residents in particular): the 2018 General Obligation Bond Act.

Sponsored by our own Sen. Carlos Cisneros, this year’s bond offering is divided into four parts: Bond A for senior citizen centers, Bond B for libraries, Bond C for school buses and Bond D for higher education capital improvements.

Without doubt, all four bonds are worthy of careful consideration. But Taos County can receive $194,808 divided among 17 tribal, public school, academic and public libraries in Bond B, and if Bond D passes, $4.3 million will go toward construction of the College Pathways to Careers Center on the UNM-Taos Klauer Campus. Clearly, $4.5 million coming into Taos County represents major improvements in higher education and the public’s access to information, but it will also help to ensure new, well-paying jobs and a robust construction economy in the years to come.

“That’s all well and good, but how much are my taxes going to go up this time?” you might ask. The answer, surprisingly, is not a penny. The bonding capacity of the state is carefully calibrated so that new bonds come on board as the older bonds are retired. The tax burden does not stairstep higher and higher every two years but stays steady at the current rate.

In the interest of transparency, I am a part-time special projects coordinator for UNM-Taos, so I have a rather unique perspective on Bond D. I’ve watched over the years as well over $20 million of bond money has made possible what is, in my opinion, one of the finest college campuses in the state. Our students and this community as a whole deserve nothing less than what Rep. Bobby Gonzales calls “the golden apple of Taos.”

That’s probably why, in 2016, Taos County ranked No. 1 out of all 33 New Mexico counties in support of the bond for higher education. I can’t presume to tell anyone how to vote; that’s a deeply personal decision best left to the individual. But I do ask that citizens look carefully at the 2018 General Obligation Bond Act. After all, “A well informed electorate,” as Thomas Jefferson maintained, “is the prerequisite to democracy.”

Bill Knief lives in Taos.

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