State construction is a vicious cycle

C.B. Forgotston
June 21, 2013 at 10:45 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The taxpayers of Louisiana are constantly paying for new state buildings because maintenance of existing buildings is not a priority.

Eventually, the buildings become uninhabitable and must be torn down or merely abandoned. This is nothing new. It’s been going on since John McKeithen was the governor in the 1960s.

It has been reported that higher education facilities across the state are in desperate need of extensive maintenance and repairs.

During the 2013 Lege Session, the leges’ answer to the maintenance problem in higher ed – borrow $250 million to build brand-new facilities for the community and technical colleges around the state.

Of course, there will be no maintenance money for these new buildings so before the bonds are paid off, the buildings will be abandoned.

In authorizing the new buildings, the leges busted the state debt "ceiling" by $250 million. That will cost the taxpayers an additional $22 million annually in recurring revenues that cannot be used for higher education and other state operating needs.

The debt service for future capital expenditures will become more expensive because of the breach of the debt "ceiling" thus it will be more expensive to maintain existing facilities.

As a result the existing facilities will have to be abandoned and even more money will have to be borrowed to build new facilities and, once again, the debt "ceiling" will be breached.

This is the equivalent of us not wanting to spend money to repair a leaky roof on our home and eventually having to renovate the entire house, abandon it or tear it down.

What the leges are doing is not only a vicious cycle, but it is fiscally-irresponsible.




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