by Max Brantley
Interesting rundown by Rep. Steve Harrelson on the final choice of an amendment for the 2010 ballot. It will be decided this morning.
He gives favorite status to a blended proposal. It would 1) remove the interest limit on public bond issues and 2) allow "savings" from energy efficiency projects to be counted as revenue for purposes of issuing revenue bonds. The latter is apparently Sen. Shane Broadway's idea.
Forgive me, Sen. Broadway, but your charity bingo amendment of the last session -- so clean, so pure -- has already devolved into the mess I predicted. Illegal bingo halls will soon once again prosper all over the land. So it is, I fear, with this revenue bond boondoggle intended to fatten the companies that sell government on energy efficiency schemes. Read the thing. You won't have to look far. They can call these things revenue bonds all they want, but they'll be secured by general revenues. The talk of "savings" is just window-dressing. Except: do revenue bonds require a popular vote?
UPDATE: The morning meeting ended without a final choice on a third amendment. A compromise effort is underway aimed at addressing a number of competing ideas to build higher interest rates into the Constitution. Car dealers are pushing hard to get the lending limit raised on them, too.