Grant money isn't free money

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Okay, so I'm sure y'all remember my post a month or so back about Myrtle's new ride and the fact that I was asking questions on how these were purchased.  If you need a refresher, click here.  Well, one of the questions I asked was, "Is this what our tax dollars are going to?"  And after many people commented on how it was federal grant money, not our tax dollars — I feel the need to share this blog post from Fredie that answers the question about all that "free" money everyone thinks we are getting.

 Fredie's blog can be found by clicking here.
"I had a nice phone call with a reader today about local government. The problem: the phone call got me on one of my soapboxes.
It grates on my nerves — I mean legitimately bothers me — when people talk about grant  money, or any federal money for that matter, as if it’s free. They talk about it like it was found at the end of yesterday’s rainbow in a pot of gold.

“Thanks to this federal tax money we will be able to provide a new park for our town; no local tax dollars will be spent on the project,” an official might say.

News flash: that grant money, or federal money, is still coming from local folks. Don’t believe me? Look at your next paycheck and see how much of your hard-earned money is going towards federal income tax. Those tax dollars fund such federal grants that local officials like to talk about as if they’re free. True enough, that money may not come from the portion of your check that the state takes, or from the local property taxes you pay, or even from the seven percent you pay when you buy something at Wal-Mart — but it still comes from you, John Q. Taxpayer.

That’s like someone robbing you of $100 and then returning $10 of it to you a year later in a big box with a frilly bow. Would you be happy about that? Would you view it as a gift? Of course not. That’s precisely the reason we should be cautious in how we describe federal money flowing back into our communities.

I’m not saying we can’t celebrate it, but we need to be careful. And we certainly don’t need to act like it’s free money.

Please join me in correcting someone the next time you hear them espouse that any type of government money is free.
OK, I’m back off my soapbox for now."

Maybe folks will stop referring to federal grant money as "free" money, now that they have been educated.

1 comment:

  1. Yep yep yep! It is all free, free, free! Makes it hard to believe that people think this money grows out of the ground!


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