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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What is "State Aid" - Part 1 (I Think)

    States all around the country find themselves in financial chaos.  This is primarily because they have been over spending for years and now find themselves at the brink of insolvency.  Responsible Governors have been leading the way in reducing spending but much to the chagrin of local politicians and officials who are faced with shortfalls in supporting school districts, police forces, and other local services.  They frequently blame the problems on the loss of "State Aid" and explain to their constituents all of the measures they are taking to push for more.

    To understand the problem I think it would be helpful to define exactly what "State Aid" is so let me give it a shot.  State aid is the percentage of money previously confiscated from the taxpayers that is used to support programs and services as determined worthy by the politicians currently in control and doled out to geographical areas that are again determined worthy by the politicians currently in control.

    Let's dissect this a little.  Why would I say "the percentage of money previously confiscated"?  That's because in order to collect our money and redistribute it, we need commissioners, department heads, clerical support, office space, office furniture, and cleaning services for the occupied spaces.   In addition, we need duplicate staffs called auditors since auditors are inherently more trustworthy and honest than are the first people to touch our money.  We need to pay for all of this so in essence, we pay a handling fee just like when we buy tickets through Ticketmaster.

    Imagine if we did our grocery shopping like this.  We would all go to our favorite grocery store and we would each give the manager let's say $100 to provide us with a week's worth of groceries.  Now immediately the store manager would take 30% off the top for the handling fee meaning that we would theoretically get back $70 worth of groceries for every $100 we gave him or her to begin with.  Next the manager would get to decide who gets back $90 worth of groceries, who gets $50 worth, etc. but let's save the unequal redistribution for another day and assume that we would each get our $70 worth.

    So we would all hang out in the parking lot waiting to see what we received.  You would here comments like "oooh, I hope I get some ice cream this week", and, "I really need a piece of chicken for Tuesday night", or, "I hope I get sweet pickles this week.  I really didn't like those dill spears".  It would be like spending the afternoon with a bunch of nitwits.  Yet, that is exactly what our local "leaders" do when it comes to state aid.  Just substitute school budget for ice cream, a town park for chicken, and maybe a sidewalk someplace for the sweet pickles.

    So here's an idea.  Let's just stop sending our money to Sacramento, or Albany, Trenton, or Lansing.  Instead, let us keep our money in our own communities.  That way we can just give it directly to the school district.  If we want a park, we can build it.  And if we need a sidewalk someplace, we get to decide.  After all, we're adults.  We can make those decisions.  Heck if nothing else at least we'll save the handling fee!!

    Please take a moment to respond to the poll regarding this subject on upper right.  This is valuable information.  Also, let me know what your thoughts are so I can use them in Part 2 of this topic.  You can either post a comment or email me at tzdk8@aol. com.  Thank you.

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