phoenix is using our money to promote the bond election which will steal more of our money

City launches campaign to promote bond package

Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor The Arizona Republic Jan. 10, 2006 12:00 AM

About 150 people showed up for a Monday-morning rally in downtown Phoenix that officially kicked off a campaign to urge Phoenix voters to approve all the projects in the city's $878.5 million bond package.

The most notable project pitch is an Arizona State University campus in downtown Phoenix, which makes up about 25 percent of the bond program.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and others have pinned their hopes on the campus to revitalize downtown.

"Don't let anyone shape the discussion that (the bond program) is going to raise taxes," he said. "It isn't. As the mayor of Phoenix, I'm telling you it isn't."

A bond election is like the city taking out a home mortgage. With voter approval, the city sells bonds to investors, pays interest on the borrowed money and uses it to complete the various projects.

As proponents touted the benefits of the wide range of bond projects that voters will consider on a March 14 ballot, a handful of people quietly protested across the street.

They held handmade signs stating "Don't Raise My Property Taxes" and "Vote No on Props 1-7."

City officials say that the bond program won't increase the tax rate. But Jeff Greenspan, chairman of Stop Taxing Our Property, a political committee formed to oppose the bond, argues that if the city didn't borrow money for the bond program, officials could lower the tax rate.

Another bond opponent, Lynne Weaver of Phoenix, doesn't debate whether the projects being proposed have merit but questions how the city is financing them.

"This is a silly way to do it," Weaver said, adding that the city will be spending millions of dollars on finance charges. "All this money leaves the city, and the investors make all the money."

She and others would like to see the city pay for projects upfront and not borrow money.

Jay Thorne, a spokesman for Building Our Future, a political committee formed to support the seven bond propositions, said, "Every large capital expenditure requires financing and bonds are a very conservative . . . way of doing it."

Paul Johnson, the group's chairman, said the package offers a good balance for the community.

The bond also will pay for storm sewer and streets improvements, senior and community centers and land purchases for future police and fire stations.

"Supporting education, parks and libraries is good long-term crime prevention policy," Councilman Greg Stanton said. "When a child is given recreational opportunities, she will stay out of trouble, when a child is given a library book, it opens up her mind. When a child is given an education, it helps build her future."

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