Lawmakers Consider Bond For UNC System, Largest In State History
Posted June 23, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — North Carolina legislators want to float the largest bond package in state history to pay for a massive expansion and renovation of the state's universities and community colleges.
The proposed bond comes just after the release of a report that said schools in theUNC systemhad construction and rehabilitation needs approaching $5 billion.
Schools in the UNC system need more than just a fresh coat of paint.
"The conditions are bad, I think. Some of the classrooms are run down and are old. I think a lot of the ceilings need to be repaired," said Summer Walker, a junior at N.C. Central University.
A recent study says state universities and community colleges have more than $5 billion worth of renovation and construction needs.
Legislators believe their $3 million plan will be a good start. They also believe there are few other options.
"I just think it's something we have to do," saysSenator Marc Basnight. "And thisGeneral Assemblywill address that, hopefully in a matter that we can complete it this year."
Under the plan,UNC-Chapel HillandN.C. Statewould each get close to $500 million.
N.C. Centralwould receive $119 million, andFayetteville Statewould get $46 million.
The state's community colleges will get close to $300 million.
UnlikeWake County's recently failed bond effort, these state bonds will not require voter approval.
Legislators say the bond would not mean higher taxes, at least in the short-term.
TheJohn Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank in Raleigh, says this bond idea fails several tests.
Foundation president John Hood also feels lawmakers should never incur this amount of debt without a referendum.