Pennsylvania has a program it calls "growing greener" where it touts so-called "smart growth" programs and uses government funds to buy farms, etc to keep that land out of the hands of the dreaded real estate developers. Some of the program money is also used to clean up old environmentally challenged sites. Recently, the Philly Inquirer, devoted an editorial to convince voters to approve a new bond issue to fund what is called Growing Greener II. Here is part of the editorial ....."Voters will be asked: 'Do you favor authorizing the Commonwealth to borrow up to $625 million for the maintenance and protection of the environment, open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection, abandoned mine reclamation, acid mine drainage remediation and other environmental initiatives?' Given the depth of need in every category, voters should respond, "Yes."Recognizing that environmental cleanup and economic success go hand-in-hand, Gov. Rendell proposed an $800 million environmental investment in his 2004 budget address. After more than a year of jockeying, Rendell and the legislature finally compromised last month on the $625 million proposal, which includes no new taxes or fees. It has wide bipartisan support.".......
Here is what I think - unless the Inquirer has discovered a way to repeal the law of mathematics, this bond issue HAS TO INCLUDE NEW TAXES OR NEW FEES.
Let's face it, you can't just find $625 Million - someone is going to pay back the bond holders! The state must be either increasing fees and taxes or extending the current term of existing taxes and fees. This is the second time I saw this program touted as a form of taxpayer free money; the first was in an OPED piece by a state legislator named Ruth Harper. FYI- in reality this $625 Million bond issue costs $50 to every man, woman and child in Pennsylvania. Given my druthers, I'd prefer to keep my $50- how about you?
Lastly, programs like this are very similar to what the politicians have done with the social security program. Current politicians spend the money today to garner voter support and future generations of taxpayers get the bill.