July 17, 2013

Another View: Summer food program for kids bad idea if it boosts school costs

By Skip Simonds

Who could possibly argue against L.D. 1353, a bill requiring schools to provide lunches to deserving children during months when school lunches are not available? A recent Press Herald editorial ("Our View: LePage should back bill to close student food gap," July 11) correctly touts the benefits of such a program. It's what we clearly call "a good idea."

Well, I need a new septic system for my house. It would replace the aging one I currently have, would reduce expenses around maintaining the old system and allow me to get that washing machine my wife has been bugging me about since we moved into our former summer home full time.

That's clearly "a good idea" on multiple fronts, for lots of obvious reasons. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to do it. So "good idea" or even "great idea," I can't do it.

And that's something that the government, be it state or federal, or even the Press Herald seems to have forgotten: Just because something is "a good idea" doesn't mean it can and should be done unless you have the money to pay for it.

I know there are federal funds that could be "leveraged" if we'd prime the pump with some state funds. But the Press Herald is certainly being awfully cavalier with my money. "Leveraging" is attractive only until you consider where the money is coming from. Any money the federal or state government has comes from taxes that I pay either directly or indirectly.

So this "leveraging" thing is a really poor argument from my perspective: using my state income tax dollars to leverage my federal income tax dollars to institute a program that is going to increase my school budget that I fund with my property tax dollars.

Wait a minute. Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all.

Skip Simonds is a resident of Newagen.


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