Saturday, October 22, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search

Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found

Lost: Black Angus calf, between C.R. 331 and C.R. 304 in Floresville, last seen headed towards Terrance and C.R. 304 from C.R. 331. Call Frasier, 830-391-3435.
Found: Light brown large male puppy, approx. 1 year old, very lovable and sweet, no collar, near F.M. 537 and 427 off Hwy. 181. Call 830-393-9999 or 419-250-9099.
*Includes FREE photo online!
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Oilfield Roustabouts - SEI Oilfield Services now hiring at our Jourdanton location, Mon.-Fri. and weekends as necessary, weekly pay, full benefits package, matching 401k, and PTO, $11-$12/hour. Email resume and/or contact information to
*Fair Housing notice. All help wanted advertising in this newspaper is subject to the Fair Housing Act which makes it illegal to advertise "any preference limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention, to make any such preference limitation or discrimination." This newspaper will not knowingly accept any advertising for help wanted ads, which is in violation of the law. Our readers are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised in this newspaper are available on an equal opportunity basis.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos

Video Vault ›


Shining a light on Texas’ pile of debt — and shadowy bond votes

E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
September 23, 2016 | 301 views | Post a comment

By Kenric Ward / September 23, 2016

“Alarming levels” of local government debt are nudging Texas lawmakers to bring more transparency and accountability to bond elections.

Local debt outstanding topped $225 billion in fiscal 2015, according to the Texas Bond Review Board. That works out to $8,350 for every man, woman and child -- the second highest behind New York among large states.

From 2000 to 2015, Texas city and county debt spiked by 162 percent, 21Ž2 times faster than the rate of population and inflation.

“For many communities, soaring local government debt has meant an increase in taxation and a decrease in core services,” said James Quintero, director of the Center for Local Governance at the nonpartisan Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Much of the debt -- which Quintero called “alarming” -- has been piled on by taxpayers who vote for bond issue after bond issue.

“They fail to make the connection between new debt and new taxes,” Quintero told the House Elections Committee on Thursday.

Using opaque ballot language, incomplete disclosure and electoral gimmicks like “rolling polling,” local governments -- including school districts -- have turned an ostensibly democratic process into a rubber-stamping exercise in Texas.

Quintero cited McKinney Independent School District’s bond proposition last May. The measure before voters simply stated:

“The issuance of bonds in the amount of $220,000,000 for the construction, renovation, acquisition, and equipment of school buildings and the purchase of necessary sites for school buildings and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.”

“Nowhere in this short paragraph of legalese do you hear anything about the actual cost of the bond, the tax impact or any mention that $50 million will be spent on a new high school football stadium,” Quintero noted.

The 12,000-seat stadium would replace a 7,000-seat facility that’s seldom close to capacity.

The McKinney school bond, which passed with 62 percent of the vote in a low-turnout election, is typical of debt-loading schemes statewide, where the actual costs, including interest, are hidden from voters.

Quintero recommends three reforms to shine a brighter light on an otherwise shadowy process:

Informing voters at the ballot box. Beyond the current minimal disclosure requirements, all bond propositions would disclose:

The estimated impact on the average homeowner.
The total cost to repay the bond in full and on time.
Separate ballot propositions. Quintero says it is common practice to embed large-scale, single-item projects into larger bond proposals (as McKinney ISD did with its football stadium).

“The Legislature would do well to reform this practice so that major capital improvements above a certain cost threshold are put before the voters in a separate fashion. This will allow voters to better decide which items are in the community's best interest instead of being forced to accept a ‘take it or leave it’ approach,” Quintero said.

End rolling polling. Schools and local governments strategically locate polling places during the early voting period to maximize prospects for passage, not necessarily to boost voter turnout.

“This practice is far too susceptible to abuse, allowing for local officials to target certain voting populations to achieve a predetermined outcome,” Quintero asserted.

Nine transparency bills were introduced in the 2015 Legislature, but none passed. More are expected in 2017.

Kenric Ward writes for the Texas Bureau of Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Kenricward.

Our work is free for your news organization to use. Learn more about how you can steal our stuff here.

Follow Texas on Twitter and Facebook!

Know something we don't? E-mail us at is a project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
‹ Previous Blog Entry

Your Opinions and Comments

Be the first to comment on this story!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives

Commentaries page
Commentaries who represents me?
Allstate & McBride RealtyHeavenly Touch homeTriple R DC ExpertsVoncille Bielefeld homeFriesenhahn Custom Welding

  Copyright © 2007-2016 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.