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Ballot Measures

Provide for the issuance of revenue and special facility bonds by political subdivisions of the state and regional airport authorities

November 2, 2010 Idaho General Election
Description:

Shall Article VIII, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition of a New Section 3E, to provide for the issuance of revenue and special facility bonds by political subdivisions of the state and regional airport authorities as defined by law, if operating an airport to acquire, construct, install, and equip land, facilities, buildings, projects or other property, which are hereby deemed to be for a public purpose, to be financed for, or to be leased, sold or otherwise disposed of to persons, associations or corporations, or to be held by the subdivision or regional airport authority, and may in the manner prescribed by law issue revenue and special facility bonds to finance the costs thereof; provided that any such bonds shall be payable solely from fees, charges, rents, payments, grants, or any other revenues derived from the airport or any of its facilities, structures, systems, or projects, or from any land, facilities, buildings, projects or other property financed by such bonds, and shall not be secured by the full faith and credit or the taxing power of the subdivision or regional airport authority?

Currently, local governmental entities that operate airports and regional airport authorities cannot incur indebtedness without the approval of a two-thirds vote at an election held for that purpose. This proposed amendment will allow local governmental entities that operate airports and regional airport authorities to issue revenue and special facility bonds to acquire, construct, install and equip land, facilities, buildings, projects or other property. Voter approval will not be required to incur such indebtedness, as long as the bonds are paid for by fees, charges, rents, payments, grants or other revenues derived from the airport or its facilities. The use of tax dollars to repay such bonds is prohibited.

Statements FOR the Proposed Amendment

1. Public airports should have the ready ability to construct needed facilities, such as terminals, runways, parking structures and hangars, which provide travelers with better services and accommodations and attract industries to Idaho as long as the users pay for these facilities.

2. Political subdivisions and regional airport authorities need the ability to efficiently address operational needs as they arise. Adoption of this amendment will provide this ability without the use of tax dollars to repay any debt or liability incurred.

3. The inability of political subdivisions and regional airport authorities to incur indebtedness and liability without voter approval has been a contributing factor in driving regional aviation-related industries to conduct business in neighboring states. If the proposed amendment is not adopted, Idaho could continue to lose similar economic development opportunities.

4. Public airports are a vital part of economic development and commerce in the state of Idaho. In 2009, aviation contributed an estimated $2.1 billion to Idaho's economy. Properties and facilities funded by special facility bonds will attract and expand industries, such as maintenance, manufacturing and cargo operations, which will create new jobs and foster economic development in Idaho. Modern and efficient airports are essential to Idaho's prosperity.

Statements AGAINST the Proposed Amendment

1. The existing Idaho constitutional requirement mandating a two-thirds assent of the voters before a political subdivision or regional airport authority can incur debt is an important safeguard for all Idaho citizens.

2. Adoption of the proposed amendment will allow political subdivisions and regional airport authorities to acquire, construct, install and equip land, facilities, buildings and projects that are not specifically limited to airport operations.

3. Buildings and land owned by the government are not taxed and therefore provide no revenues to schools, cities, counties or other levying authorities. Adoption of the proposed amendment could result in an increase in property exempt from taxation.

4. Changes to the Constitution should be made only for major issues of interest to the entire state or in the event of a constitutional crisis.

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