Federal Dollars Come With Strings Attached
Texas can be inconsistent when it comes to dealing with the federal government.
On one hand, we routinely sue the feds over every issue imaginable. Often this is called for, and it can be an effective way to fight abuse of power.
On the other hand, we do whatever it takes to get as many federal dollars as possible in programs that are far beyond the scope of the federal government.
We are not immune from such contradictions here in North Texas.
It’s tempting to take “free” money from Washington, but what comes from D.C. is not truly free. All government money comes from the taxpayer, and it’s never freely given–there are always strings attached.
That’s why I voted against the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) FY2017 Annual Fiscal Program. It contains expenditures that are in no way the responsibility of government, and many which I believe are specifically NOT the role of the federal government.
The NCTCOG, while composed of local government representatives, is more properly viewed as the federally-mandated planning organization at the regional level that now controls and implements grants of every possible nature.
Most of what’s included in the $209 million budget are state and federal grants. But even some grants marked as state funds are in reality pass-throughs from the federal government. And that doesn’t include many millions of federal highway dollars for the region.
So why are we inconsistent? It’s easy to stand against federal regulations when they seem intrusive, but it’s a lot harder to say no to federal funding.
The federal government has a role to play; it’s set out in something called the U.S. Constitution.
It’s time we learn to say “no” in the first place, instead of waiting to rail against the restrictions that inevitably result from saying “yes.”