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Should government decide which charities citizens will support?

By Scott Tibbs, February 29, 2008

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Should government decide which charities citizens will support?
Date: Fri, 29 Feb 2008 08:05:02 -0500
From: Scott C. Tibbs <tibbs1973@yahoo.com>
To: pstoffer@alumni.indiana.edu, ikiesling@co.monroe.in.us, jpoling@co.monroe.in.us

Ms. Kiesling, Ms. Poling and Mr. Stoffers

Today, you will be voting on a proposal to give funds from the Community Development Block Grant to Middle Way House. While I support Middle Way House and the vital work they do in this community, I encourage you to turn down this request for taxpayer money.

I do not believe it is the role of government to decide on behalf of the citizens of Monroe County which charitable organization we will support financially. I am sure that those who review requests for funding use the most objective criteria possible and are more than fair to everyone. While I am confident that there is no partisan motivation in the decision to allocate CDBG funds, a budgetary decision by elected officials (which is what is happening today) is inherently political. Is this truly the best way to help those in need? I believe the answer to this question is "no".

Problems can arise when government decides which charities the taxpayers will support financially, as we have seen for the past nine years when the Bloomington City Council has given money to Planned Parenthood. While I can't imagine that anyone would have a moral objection to the important work of Middle Way House, will that always be the case when the County Commissioners give money to social service agencies?

Charities should, ideally, be free of entanglements with the government. This is why I oppose the "faith based" charities plan advocated by President Bush as well as vouchers for students attending private schools. I would prefer that the free market decide which charities will prosper and which will fall by the wayside. As the cliché goes, the cream will rise to the top as people direct their money not only to the charities providing the best service, but also to the charities they have a special place for in their hearts. Thank you for your time.

Scott Tibbs

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