Tag Archives: gamble

SPLOST won in Houston County but not in Lowndes County: why?

Why did SPLOST in Houston County, Georgia win by a landslide while SPLOST VII in Lowndes County lost?

Houston County’s SPLOST passed in March 2012 by a landslide. Christina M. Wright wrote for The Telegraph 6 March 2012, UPDATE: Houston officials celebrate landslide SPLOST approval,

“This is a ‘thank you’ for the voters,” said Houston County Chairman Tommy Stalnaker as Warner Robins Councilman Paul Shealy presented the black and white sign. “They are the real victors of this thing tonight.”…

Unofficial results showed the SPLOST received 10,029 ‘yes’ votes to 4,799 ‘no’ votes. More affirmative than negative votes were cast in every precinct.

That’s 67.6% to 32.4%, and a difference: Houston County local elected officials thanked the voters. Lowndes County Chairman Ashley Paulk, who rushed through a SPLOST vote a year early, Continue reading

Prisons bad for education budget

Building a prison is not just a bad business gamble now that crime rates are down and state budgets are tight. It’s bad for other things, too. As the reporter who originally broke the story about the empty new prison in Grayson County, VA noted 2 January 2011, Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a national group that promotes criminal justice reform, summed it up:
“Corrections over the past 25 years has become an increasingly big component of state budgets, to the point that it’s competing for funding with education and other core services,” Mauer said. “And you can’t have it both ways anymore.”

If we want knowledge-based jobs here, a private prison is not how to get them. Let’s not build a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend those tax dollars on education instead.


“We really need it in the county really bad.” —Grayson County, VA

Is Lowndes County in such bad shape that we, too, want a private prison, no matter that there’s no business case for it? Or should we learn from one bad business bet and not double down on another?

Susan Kinzie wrote in the Washington Post 30 May 2011, New Virginia prison sits empty, at a cost of more than $700,000 a year

This is how bad the economy is in southwestern Virginia: People are wishing they had more criminals in town.

That’s because Grayson County has a brand-new state prison standing empty. No prisoners. And that means no guards, no administrators, no staff, no jobs.

“I wish they would go ahead and open it up,” said Rhonda James of Mouth of Wilson, echoing many residents there. “We really need it in the county really bad.”

Three hundred new jobs — maybe 350 — that’s what people were told when the prison was planned. With about 11 percent unemployment and no relief in sight, that sounded really good to an awful lot of people here.

But months after the commonwealth finished building the 1,024-bed medium-security prison for $105 million, it remains empty, coils of razor wire and red roofs shining in the sun, new parking lot all but deserted and a yawning warehouse waiting for supplies.

And it’s costing more than $700,000 a year to maintain.

Meanwhile, the story continued, Virginia has closed 10 prisons due to budget shortfalls and lack of prisoners. And it’s not just Virginia: Continue reading