Most Virginia voters favor issuing municipal bonds over raising taxes to finance Gov. George Allen's proposed plan to abolish parole and build 27 new prisons in the state, according to a poll by the Richmond Times-Disptach.
But that's only when the respondents were presented with a head-on choice between the two options. The poll also asked simply whether respondents were willing to have the state borrow from the municipal bond market to fund the program; less than half said yes to that question.
Allen's proposal calls for $820 million in construction spending over the next I0 years, but this figure climbs to more than $1 billion when factoring in inflation and equipment costs.
The poll of 462 Virginians, conducted Sept. 10-14 with a margin of error of plus or minus 5%, found 43% in favor of and 48% against issuing bonds, with 9% undecided. The poll 'also found 28% in favor of raising taxes and 51% in favor of issuing bonds when given the choice, with 14% saying neither is acceptable and 7% undecided.
The Virginia General Assembly convened a special session yesterday to consider the program, and financing will ben key issue.
Allen is seeking authority -- unadjusted for inflation or equipment costs -- to issue $311.4 of tax-exempt lease revenue bonds to fund short-term needs, and an additional $509.2 million of general obligation bonds that would require voter approval