2006 Debt and Bond Referenda Analysis

With voters being asked to consider six bond questions that would authorize $229.3 million in new general obligation debt, this issue of RIPEC Comments summarizes the proposed referenda and key facts concerning public debt in the Ocean State. The following report reviews general obligation bonds, Rhode Island’s debt levels, debt service and general revenue, debt per capita, and the pending decision to authorize new general obligation debt.

Rhode Island has made significant progress in managing its debt over the past 20 years as a result of conservative debt management practices. RIPEC has traditionally not taken positions on bond referenda questions. However, RIPEC encourages taxpayers to consider the following questions when deciding whether to authorize new debt in November:

  • Which projects will result in investments that will strengthen the State’s economy and help grow and retain jobs?
  • Do some of the proposed projects represent higher priorities than others given finite resources?
  • What is the “opportunity cost” of these projects if they are not approved?
  • What impact will new capital projects have on the cost of operating state government?
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