Government grants: It is what it is
I don’t know about you but I’m certainly getting tired about all the news on TV talking about Comey. So the guy, the head of the FBI, got himself fired.
Right or wrong elections have consequences. Donald Trump won the presidential election. Deal with it. I’d much rather receive reports of what our troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa and around the world are doing, laying their lives on the line, in order to make our world safe for the democracy that we enjoy here back home.
We had an interesting experience in Omaha this weekend. Driving down a four lane highway in traffic I detected the rumble of a flat tire. Haven’t had one in years and years. Slowed, sorted through traffic and found a safe place to change it. Now figuring how to run the barely adequate jack that comes with a new car, figuring how to lower the spare tire, working with the awkward tools that come with the package is a challenge but we got ‘er done. No tire shop open in Omaha on Sunday, so we drove back to McCook and my favorite tire store made the fix first thing Monday morning. Good to go.
The Gazette carried an article about diverting some $75,000 from Motor Vehicle Tax funds for construction in McCook’s “Industrial Park.” The $75,000 is the carrot to attract a $500,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Roads. No mention of using the funds to construct paved streets which would/may be a boon in attracting new industry to the area. Economic development.
This sometimes-politician has a distrust of grants in the first place mainly for the strings attached to get the money. Then, too, grants come from tax money, yours and mine.
Tax money that is extorted from us and over which we most times have no say in how it is spent. In my mind, gas tax, motor vehicle tax and the ilk should go to those things that enhance the tasks that we use our automobiles and trucks to accomplish.
Using gas tax money to build walking trails just doesn’t seem right.
Grant money to be handed out is attractive to politicians who when running for re-election are happy to point out to prospective voters, “Look I got you $$$$ to build an ILS for your airport (Ben Nelson)” or “Here is $$$$ to pave your walking trail.”
Giving out grants is unfortunately much easier than having to justify a proposed bond to pay for some needed project and then letting the public, those who get to pay the taxes to pay off that bond, decide if that project is worthy in an election. Realistically, though grants are the political climate at present and if we want to build for a better future we must consider getting government grants to fulfill our dreams. It is what it is.
Then on page one of that same Gazette, May 12-14, 2017 there is a comment by our own local Department of Roads District Engineer Kurt Vosburg, man of good sense, commenting “We’ll get by with what we get.” Refreshing! A realistic spender of tax money stating the obvious that we have to live within our means.
No different than what you and I have to do with our own personal budget. Good on ya Kurt.
Incidentally the Department of Roads will soon be part of the Nebraska Department of Transportation NDOT. Roads and the Department of Aeronautics were combined as of the first of May. We will see how NDOT works out but it is actually the same practice as the Federal DOT.
That is how I saw it.