YOUR OPINION: Mandate Federal Grant Recipients Some ‘Skin in the Game’

By  //  March 30, 2017

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replace project grants with project loans

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would spend $1.1 trillion in 2018 and increase military spending by $54 billion. To offset that spending and to bring down the cost and size of government, President Trump is seeking impressive cuts in most areas of discretionary spending.

A March 29 article in USA Today was headlined “Trump targets agencies that aid rural areas” based on his budget proposal to cut a variety of grants.

Of course, fiscal progressives are up in arms with statements from the Washington Post such as: “If you’re a poor person in America, President Trump’s budget proposal is not for you.”

One comment in the USA Today article was from an administrator in a Tennessee town of 2,800 that wanted an interchange off of Highway 40. She commented that without federal dollars, they wouldn’t get the interchange any time soon.

But isn’t what she really means is that without the government forcing taxpayers from across the country to fund the interchange for their town, they would have to pay for it on their own, and that would not happen any time soon without federal money—your and my money.

The article goes on to discuss a federal program, the Delta Regional Authority, that had invested $163 million in projects for programs that have attracted $3.3 billion in public and private investment, and because of a $3 million grant at the last minute, a county in Tennessee was able to get a manufacturing plant that provided local jobs.

WATCH REPLAY: Brevard County Commissioners Isnardi, Tobia Conduct Joint General Town Hall MeetingRelated Story:
WATCH REPLAY: Brevard County Commissioners Isnardi, Tobia Conduct Joint General Town Hall Meeting

Sounds great for the local beneficiaries of that windfall, but it was accomplished essentially by forcing people in other cities and states to pay for it.

So, by forcing taxpayers around the country to “invest” $163 million in one area, that same area got a return of $3.3 billion on the “investment.” There are literally hundreds of these grants that help to fund projects all over the country, all of which need very close scrutiny. Hopefully President Trump and his financial team are up to the task.

Perhaps rather than “free” federal money, recipients of grants should have some “skin in the game” and responsibility for payback to “We the People.”

Why can’t we change all taxpayer funded “grants” to loans so taxpayers’ money that politicians choose to give to someone else can be recovered by “We the People” and channelled either back to us as tax cuts or allotted to other areas of the budget from which we all benefit.

At least knowing it had to be paid back might encourage the recipients of those funds to be sure what it was spent on had some value.

President Trump promised fiscal “common sense,” and his 1.2 percent cut in discretionary spending over all is a good start.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

davis-180-6-2-211-1Ilene Davis, a resident of Brevard County since 1971, is a Certified Financial Planner with a bachelors degree in Mathematics from the University of Michigan, a bachelors degree in Accounting from Rollins College, and a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University.  Davis became a stockbroker in 1982, earned her designation as a Certified Financial Planner in 1984, and with a desire to serve clients more on her own terms, opened her own financial consultant office in Cocoa Village in 1986.   She is committed to helping each client create their own “Financial Freedom Fund,” and believes strongly in free market capitalism and a “hand up rather than a hand-out” as the best path to prosperity.


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