Who doesn't want the best for New York's students? But the price tag for electronic equipment that will be obsolete long before it's paid off isn't the best use of the taxpayers' money. We would urge voters to vote "no" on the bond act.
As difficult as it is to say "no" to funding for education, we don't believe that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Smart Schools initiative is the right approach for New York.
Proposal Three would authorize issuing up to $2 billion bond. The money would go to improving technology in classrooms and for technology-based school security. The Empire Center argues it would could about $500 million in interest.
But E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank in Albany, said the state already had a generous tech budget for schools. He called the plan “probably the most ill-conceived and wasteful bond act that’s been proposed in New York for decades.”
There are high-priority needs in New York State, not the least of which is repairing roads and bridges, that may be worth borrowing for. Sinking the state even deeper into debt to fund like-to-have items is a mistake.
E.J. McMahon, president of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy and a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, and others also rightly question whether long-term bonds are appropriate for such upgrades, considering the rapid change of technology. Moreover, while the money would allow for districts to construct and/or make additions to pre-K facilities, it doesn't, of course, provide the ongoing operating costs to staff such noble initiatives.
Indeed, Proposition 3 is incredibly vague, and the state has not done its due diligence.
Critics said the bond act would incur debt for years after the equipment becomes obsolete and new equipment needs to be purchased.
"New York should think hard before supporting this costly and wasteful proposal," said E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank.