October 18, 2006 Edition

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Higher education technology subject of issue

(Note: The information presented below is part of non-biased educational materials developed by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture's public policy center. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the Division of Agriculture.)

When Arkansans head to the polls in November one issue they will decide on concerns higher education technology and facility improvements.

The proposed issue would permit the Arkansas Development Finance Authority to issue up to $250 million in general obligation bonds. The revenue from these bonds will be used to restructure bond debt previously issued under the Arkansas College Savings Bond Act of 1989, and to finance technology and facility improvement projects for the state's colleges and universities. The legislature has offered issuing bonds as one way to generate revenue for these projects.

If the ballot issue passes, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board has proposed the distribution of $150 million between two-year colleges and four-year universities. Two-year colleges are projected to receive $50 million for projects, with four-year schools receiving $100 million.

Supporters of this particular ballot issue say investments in education have a high rate of return to the state. For every dollar invested in education, the state's economy receives a return substantially higher than that dollar.

Opponents say that borrowing money to pay off debt is bad fiscal policy by the state. It is no different than a consumer using a credit card to pay off debt on another credit card.

Visit http://ppc.uaex.edu/ballot, or contact the Lawrence County Extension Service at 886-3741 to learn more about the ballot issues.

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