I find several problems with the Hancock Measure Y bond proposal. First, what is a bond? A bond is a loan obtained by a governmental entity in which voters are asked to give permission to borrow money. In this case the requested amount is $75 million.
My objections to this bond are several. First, realize it is not just the $75 million which must be repaid. With the interest over time, this amount will actually be over $142 million. As a taxpayer I believe bonds are a poor investment due to the interest paid over many years.
While voters may approve this bond by a 55 percent majority, it is not necessarily those who vote for the bond who will actually pay for it.
An 18-year-old college student who thinks it would be great to have the college receive a windfall of $75 million can vote for the bond, but never pay a cent towards the cost because that student might move to another area in the state or to another state entirely after graduation, and be far away when he or she turns 50 years old in 2050, when local property owners finally have the assessment removed from their tax bill.
People who move to our area 10 years from now and had no chance to vote on raising their taxes on the home they buy will pay the cost for many years, even decades to come.
Other voters may think that voting yes on Y won't cost them anything. Nothing ever comes for free. Renters may think they will bear no cost for this bond but higher property taxes may result in their rent being raised by the property owner who passes this expense on to them. I see bonds as a tax which encourages inflation.
Next, I never vote to approve a non-specific bond from a government agency. If a city can make a good argument for replacing 100-year-old sewers with a sewer bond I might vote for it, but my belief is that government collects lots of my money and has a responsibility to use it wisely and not keep coming back asking constantly for more.
Another objection is that Hancock proudly presented to its students this year a program whereby students do not pay any tuition. Thousands of students are not paying for their education and the college could be collecting tuition fees as a revenue source to help pay for the very things property owners are being asked to provide for them.
Why are students not asked to pay for the benefits they will receive from an education?
Hancock also advertised that undocumented immigrants are welcome. These are people who have violated our immigration laws, yet the taxpayers are asked to pay the bill to provide benefits for people who have not respected the laws of our country to begin with.
It takes a lot of gall to not charge any tuition, which could bring funds for the college to use, and at the same time come asking for a handout from property owners in the form of a $75 million non-specific bond which will run 30 years and cost over $142 million before it's done.
Our culture has been conditioned to borrow, borrow, borrow and "have it now" and "pay for it later." This is financially unwise.
Finally, I don't like to see multiple requests on a ballot which could raise taxes. Santa Maria residents are being asked to raise their sales tax with Measure U and Measure Y will also raise property taxes. Not knowing which measure might pass is a gamble people should not want to chance.
I will vote no on Measure Y.