Chairman Ritter posted a comment about the water bond thread of discussion. Rather than having it buried in the comments section, I am going to post it separately, below. Paul, I can certainly understand your frustrations with the legislature not finding a dedicated source of revenue to fully implement our State Water Plan. As you know, I carried legislation this year that would have provided a mechanism for funding the plan. I also carried the joint resolution that resulted in Proposition 2. I cannot stress enough that a dedicated source of funding is only one component in the overall implementation of the plan which cannot be accomplished without bonding authority. The passage of Proposition 2 is a crucial step towards accomplishing this goal for the State of Texas. Proposition 2 furthers our progress in meeting the future water needs of Texans. The importance of Proposition 2 is that it allows a self-supporting debt which is borrowed from the state through the Texas Water Development Board. These bonds would be issued only to provide funding requested by local communities, and the debt is then repaid by the borrowing entities. Currently, many local entities are not able to access the financing necessary to complete projects without partnering with the state. The bonding authority enables a water provider to borrow funds backed by the good faith and credit of the state, lowering the cost of the loan, and thereby lowering the bottom line cost to the consumer. In fact, authorizing this type of bonding authority is the most fiscally conservative and responsible way to do business. The failure of Proposition 2 means the imminent end of that partnership for water projects around the state, with or without a dedicated source of funding. I strongly support the passage of Proposition 2, and I hope that you will encourage your readers to do the same. Representative Allan B. Ritter Committee on Natural Resources, Chairman Texas House of Representatives * * * * I appreciate Chairman Ritter’s contribution to the discussion. My encouragement is surely not needed, as I am certain that the water bonds will pass (voters know when they are getting something for nothing), and I will probably end up voting for them. One can only reflect how much better off the state would be if, at the start of the Perry governorship, it had invested in water and transportation infrastructure through normal revenue-raising means–highway bonds secured by an increase in the gasoline tax, and water bonds secured by a tap fee. The state has made little to no progress in these areas in that time. No doubt the public would scream bloody murder if there was a serious proposal to increase the gasoline tax, but it never occurs to them that their opposition to raising the gasoline tax dooms them to drive on toll roads, which are not only costlier, but in some cases are not meeting their traffic projections.
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