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The ongoing drama of the $750,000 state grant has been excellent political theater but more importantly it provides a commentary on how we view public money. The term "grant" is designed to obscure the fact that this is tax money that has been harvested from Illinois citizens who are working hard to pay their bills.

A grant is a term better suited for a monarchy where the ruler dispenses money as a favor to his or her subjects. In a tax-paying democracy, there is no such thing as a grant since money is extracted from citizens by force of legislation. Grants are a reflection of a political system where citizens have become complacent enough to allow a ruling class to give away taxpayer money under the guise of public works improvements, but the real beneficiaries are the people who collect and dispense the grants.

This includes officials from both political parties since there is power in giving away money. Politicians of both parties strenuously object to spending but readily spend taxpayer money when it benefits their own region and interests. If each of Illinois 59 senators refused to dispense grants, the state could save millions of dollars that could be applied toward paying down debt. This would require everyone to believe in paying as you go with your own funds rather than enjoying the easy money from grants. This would require people to depend on themselves and local efforts, but it's always easier to depend on someone else or grants.

Jerry Bingham

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