Monday, October 30, 2006

Arkansas, Higher Education Bond

I finally got a chance to look at the Higher Education Tech & Facility Improvement Act. Do people really run their business like this? I don't handle my own finances this poorly. This bond issue doesn't make fiscal sense. I have a feeling that somebody is trying to get their mitts on some of Arkansas' money.
First, $100 Million is going to be used to restructure the current debt ($150 Million). Restructure with paying more interest and administrative fees? Why not pay off the debt? Is this stupid or what? Arkansas' current budget surplus is expected to be $720 million by the end of year. Why not use that to pay all or most of the debt off? If we did that, Arkansas would save approximately $24 million annually which the current debt is costing us. That savings could be used for the $150 million of facility improvements they want. Within 7-8 years they would have all the money for improvements without plunging Arkansas further into debt. The current retirement of the bond is scheduled for 2017. That would be 10 years of paying $24 million annually. This is a really stupid way to do business.
I noticed that they are wanting $10 million for an E-corridor. Wait a minute! Even though it was defeated last year, Gov. Huckabee gave them some of the money.
Arkansas News Bureau, 12/05
After the vote, Huckabee said there was a possibility that the Fayetteville campus would still be able to connect to the network known as e-Corridor.
The governor said he set aside about $6.4 million in the general improvement budget that could be used to help the university connect to the research network.

With the $6.4 million from the governor, the university could build the statewide network and lease the fiber optic cable from a private company.

The funding could cover the cost of building the statewide network and the university's connection, he said.

This just isn't right. It look like the universities are trying to pull a fast one. I'm definitely not going to let those university administrators in my pocket. I'm not voting for this.

Another review of the bond issue.

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