12 November, 2010

I Really Don't Get It

Yesterday my wife and I took our daughter Ashley to Olivet Nazerene University in Bourbonnais to check it out as a possible school for her to go to next year. Overall, we were pretty impressed with the school, although the cost is literally double what our Church of God flagship school, Lee University would cost. But the idea for this blog today is not about Olivet, per se, but rather something that we were told and witnessed while there. It really hit me wrong... not about the school, but about the way our government operates.

We were walking across the campus with a tour guide and it was obvious that there is an extensive beautification project going on. The tour guide commented to us that this was made possible by a $4.5 million grant given to the University by the State of Illinois. I'm telling you... I was instantly livid!  I did not say anything about it then, but after our tour was over, my wife and I talked about it and she was a mad as I am.   If you are not from Illinois, you may not understand. Our state is BROKE. In Galesburg alone (the town where I live) the State of Illinois is more than $3 million BEHIND in what they were supposed to pay our schools. This story is repeated across the State.  They cannot pay our schools, are almost certainly going to increase our State Income Tax in the next few months, and yet, they give $4.5 million to a University to "make it pretty"?  One has to wonder how many other pet projects are being done like this across the State. I'd just about bet you that if the truth were known, the "pork" inserted in bills, the grants given because politicians yanked a few strings, and so on, ... if all of this spending was reined in and funneled to where it needed to go, we would not be in the mess we are in. 

Get this... In Galesburg, our town just voted to increase our sales tax by 1% with the money to go to our education system, BECAUSE the State is not paying us what we are owed.  And yesterday I witnessed first hand the waste. Hey, if the money is available... give the grants away. But we don't have it!  This school is one donors laying out huge buck. They are just completing a beautiful new chapel that cost millions of dollars to build. It is the building with the largest seating capacity in the entire county and has a pipe organ in it that is worth a fortune, with it being one of four like it in the world. My point is, the University is NOT hurting for money at all, yet, political strings were pulled to give this school $4.5 million to give a portion of the campus a facelift... while teachers are being laid off, sports programs are being cancelled, and our taxes are going up.

Something is BAD wrong with this picture.

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