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Measure 72 not exciting, but is good policy

If you were to score ballot measures on a “yawn index,” this year’s offerings would cover the full range.

On one end you’d have Measure 74, which would create a network of “medical” marijuana dispensaries. As policy goes, this measure’s absolutely terrible, but at least it’s interesting.

And on the other end, you’d have the subject of today’s editorial: Measure 72, which is a two-digit argument for the inclusion of NoDoz in mail ballots. However, as tedious as the measure might be, it’s good policy.

The measure would change the way the state borrows money to finance certain projects. The constitution limits the use of comparatively inexpensive general obligation bonds to pay for the construction of prisons and various other projects. The state still finances such projects with borrowed money, of course. But it frequently does so by using “certificates of participation,” which carry higher interest rates. Measure 72 would allow the state to use general obligation bonds rather than certificates of participation on many projects, thereby saving millions of dollars every year in debt payments.

The switch from one type of borrowing to another wouldn’t increase the general fund’s debt capacity, according to Jack Kenny, capital investment section manager with the Department of Administrative Services. As a practical matter, he says, the state would simply finance the same items, but at a better rate. Voters who can stay awake long enough to reach for their pencils should fill in the “yes” bubble.

– Wescom Wire Service (The Bend Bulletin)

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