The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 29, 2013

Change way grants are handled

The Commercial-News

---- — Change way grants are handled


Even members of the Danville City Council would probably agree that air conditioners for Bement Elementary School, to reduce temperatures as high as 107, would have priority over the $1 million environmentally friendly parking lot promised to Danville by the Illinois EPA.

They probably would also agree that the air conditioners have priority over the $1.6 million pledge for a heated bus stop for Danville, pushed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Yet, Bement Elementary went wanting until Friederich Air Conditioning, a Texas-based company, donated the badly needed air conditioners. Shameful!

Besides the fact that most communities actually pay more for government grants than they receive back, events in Danville and Bement Elementary show that grants are really only issued to suit the priorities of the agencies funding the grants, not actual state-based needs.

But Bill Brady, candidate for Illinois governor, explained to me that, “The money is federal and only funneled through the state,” that the money is “job creating” and that “nothing could or should be done about it.”

Really? A guy who claims to be able to fix Illinois’ mile-deep budget cannot conceive a more effective way to handle grants? And surely he knows that if money is taken from communities to fund the grants, the only net jobs created are those in government.

If we want more effective government, all grant money, federal or state, should be removed from individual agencies — and the political self-promotional system — and issued as blocks to citizen-based committees for meaningful distribution.

Ron Gore

Covington, Ind.