Leave it to Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz to step up to the plate on behalf of the exclusive Buckley School in Sherman Oaks to provide the city’s authority so it can borrow $40 million in tax exempt bonds to carry out a campus expansion that the community blocked a dozen years ago.
We’re talking about a school that boasts among its graduates Kim and Rob Kardashian, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Christian Brando and so many others from privileged backgrounds whose families can afford the tuition shown on Buckley’s website:
What LaBonge and Koretz have rushed on to Tuesday’s agenda is a motion to hold a quickie hearing on Wednesday to approve the California Municipal Finance Authority issuing tax exempt bonds for Buckley as it has done for so many other private educational and medical facilities, even corporations like Chevron which was able to get $250 million in bonds.
The roster of recipients of CMFA’s largess includes such religious-bases private schools as the Christian universities Azusa Pacific and Biola — more than $100 million each — and Westmont College $65 million, Catholic Mater Dei High School $25.5 million and non-sectarian Lycee International de Los Angeles $12 million (Tuition $10,000 to $15,000).
Talk about separation of state and religion, private and public — not when it comes to issuing tax-free bonds.
Clearly, I’m the last one to catch on to this scam that is being used to deprive government treasuries of a share of the profits earned by bondholders and to reduce the cost of borrowing while increasing their access to money of private institutions — effectively reducing their costs and improving their facilities.
In contrast, public school teachers are being fired, class sized increased, the school year shortened and adult education programs for people struggling to improve their lot in life gutted.
Not to worry, CMFA proudly boasts it “has donated over $3.50 million to California charities through our giveback program,” including three grants of $25,000 each just this month to three nonprofits dealing with mentally disabled children, foster parents and child care for low income families.
Here’s the CMFA’s mission statement:
The California Municipal Finance Authority (“CMFA”) is a Joint Powers Authority created to strengthen local communities by assisting with the financing of economic development and charitable activities throughout the State of California. With the goal of giving back to California communities, the CMFA assists local governments, non-profits and businesses with the issuance of taxable and tax-exempt financing aimed at improving the quality of life in California. To date, over 150 municipalities have become members of CMFA.
Imagine that 150 cities have jumped aboard this conduit for tax breaks for the rich and better educations for their children — and it’s all done in the name of charity.
You take LaBonge and Koretz at their word: No risk, no cost to the the public in this deal.