Monday, October 27, 2008

Pennsylvania Ballot Initiatives

My friends in California have so many ballot initiatives to chose from. On any conceivable issue, you can probably find a ballot measure to oppose. There are two on the ballot for Northampton County Pa. Short summary of this post: Vote yes on both questions.

The first is a $400 million bond issue to support clean water initiatives in the state. See the details at Ballotopedia. The Commonwealth Foundation has some helpful details about other borrowing by Pennsylvania, a total of $3 billion in July 2008 that brings the state government's outstanding debt to $8.5 billion. That's roughly comparable to Ohio's state debt, $8.6 billion. (Individual state authorities and local governments have the vast majority of state of local obligations, though.) It doesn't sound like a huge debt problem.

I found two endorsements of the proposal.
I'll be voting in favor of this measure. Investment in infrastructure for water and sewage is good spending for the state. It will have good long term benefits for communities. In the short-term, it will mean increased public spending and more jobs at a time when the economy needs that kind of stimulus.

The second ballot measure is to hire a full-time, paid country controller. I have my absentee ballot, so I know the question is on the ballot. I can't find any one who discusses it. I can't find anything from the Morning Call or the League for Women Voters. In principle, it makes sense to me to have full-time, paid officials for some key county offices. Lehigh County's controller is paid significantly more than Northampton County's controller, so I will assume that Lehigh County has a full-time controller ($62,500 vs. $39,000).

I'll be voting for this measure, too. It makes sense to pay for competent, qualified professionals to run the local goverment.

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