Office of the State Comptroller
What is the Bond Allocation Database?
The Bond Allocation Database is an information archive set up in a Microsoft Access 2000-2003 format. The database contains summary information about projects that have been approved by the State Bond Commission. The database covers project allocations approved at monthly State Bond Commission meetings between January 1995 and the present.
Why is this information important?
In short, because it's your money! Most of the attention state government finance receives - whether by analysts, the media or the public - is focused on the state's General Fund. In some ways, this is understandable. The General Fund is the state's largest single fund, accounting for about 85 percent of the state's total operating budget. General Fund operations are financed through various kinds of current receipts, that is, revenue that is received and expended in the same fiscal year. Major General Fund revenues include various types of tax receipts, federal grants, and other sources.
At the same time, a significant amount of state spending is financed through borrowing. Even though billions of dollars are involved, these activities have received relatively little public scrutiny. The state issues bonds and receives funds from investors to pay for various projects and programs authorized by legislation. In return, the state pledges to repay investors by making principal and interest payments over a set period of time, ranging anywhere from three to 25 years, depending on the bond.
What are bonds?
The state borrows money for certain projects by issuing bonds. In the simplest terms, bonds are a form of debt. They are obligations of the state for the payment of the principal and interest. In state finance, there are two primary types of bonds, general obligation (GO) bonds and revenue bonds. For general obligation bonds, the debt is secured by the state's power to tax. In other words, the state pledges its full faith and credit for payment of principal and interest. For Revenue Bonds, the state identifies and pledges a specific revenue source for payment of principal and interest.
What is a bond allocation?
After enabling legislation - known as a Bond Authorization - is enacted, agencies still need approval from the State Bond Commission in order to commit funds for specific projects. This approval is known as a "Bond Allocation" and these allocations are what the State Comptroller's Database tracks.
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