April 25, 2006

Renew Moline director responds to labelling of WIU project as "pork"

In a piece published on QC Online, Jim Bowman, former Econcomic Development director for the city of Moline and now head of Renew Moline, offers a rebuttal to a watchdog group including the WIU Moline riverfront project in their "Pork Book", a list of supposed wasteful spending by the U.S. legislature.
The new Western Illinois University Quad-Cities Riverfront Campus offers our Q-C region its best opportunity to provide young people access to affordable higher education and at the same time redefine the regional economy. And the new WIU-QC Riverfront Campus will nurture new high-tech businesses that will recruit and educate workers who can compete and win in a challenging global economy.

The new WIU-QC Riverfront Campus will also help our Q-C region stop the outflow of young people, whose talent and energy will be critical to our community in the years ahead. Over the last decade, the 25-34 age group declined from nearly 16 percent to 12.8 percent of the Q-C area population.

That is why I found it amazing to read that a group called Citizens against Government Waste (CAGW) listed upgrades to the new WIU-QC Riverfront Campus as "pork-barrel spending."

Consider a few facts. The estimated economic impact of building the new WIU-Q-C Riverfront Campus is $10 million annually, supported by a one-time impact of $118 million during construction of the three complexes, leading to an annual economic impact of about $48 million when new academic programs support an enrollment of 3,000 students. And that doesn't count the $75 million in taxable development that will be generated from new businesses that will comprise RiverTech, a high-tech corridor along the shoreline near WIU-QC. That also will help us reinvent the QC economy, enhance our quality of life, retain young people and generate jobs and economic growth throughout the region by propelling us into emerging economies for workforce and technology development.

And that also doesn’t take into account the estimated 2,000 new jobs from companies and businesses in computer sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing and retail office operations that will be a part of the new RiverTech corridor of development on the historic riverfront.

The CAGW didn't take into account the following key fact Ï that investing dollars into the new WIU-QC Riverfront Campus will yield a high rate of return to the taxpayers of this region as well as to the state and federal government. If the CAGW wants to call that "pork" then I say let's start frying the bacon.
Citizens Against Government Waste say that in order for an appropriation to gain mention in their "Pork Book", it must meet at least two of the following criteria:

* Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
* Not specifically authorized;
* Not competitively awarded;
* Not requested by the President;
* Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
* Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
* Serves only a local or special interest.

10 Comments:

At 4/25/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Submitted: In the early 21st Century when our children cannot count change without a digital cash register can't pass the just-above-a-pulse test for the US Military and think Warren Buffett sang "Margaritaville", an expenditure to expand tertiary education can, by definition, never be wasteful.

 
At 4/25/2006 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Jim Bowman. A small investment in education on the front end can yield big economic and educational dividends for our region farther down the road.

And shame on that conservative group for attacking an investment in education about which they know absolutely nothing. More knee-jerk conservative talk. Congrats to Renew Moline for fighting back with their message.

 
At 4/25/2006 11:50 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hold your horses Anon... nice try to lable this group "conservative", but it's nothing of the sort. It attacks and exposes what it considers wasteful pork no matter the political affiliation of the offending party.

As a matter of fact, they've obviously gotten more to work with exposing Republican pork, as under Bush, they've raised pork barrel spending to new record highs.

Nice try, but this group isn't conservative in any way, shape, or form.

Can you point to where you got this impression?

 
At 4/26/2006 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when community college and state colleges were free to the students. Now they require river front campuses? Come on this pork! Education is in the class room.

 
At 4/26/2006 1:04 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon above... I think you may be confused. The funds being asked for for the WIU project is primarily for planning and construction of the facilities, not for the day to day operating expenses.

I am always disappointed by the fact that so many taxpayers are unwilling to support education in their area when it is so much more vital and provides such a great return to the area as far as income and quality of life and many other aspects.

People are getting sqeezed hard by taxes, unless of course you make a few million a year, in which case the rules are changed and you have to pay next to nothing. I can understand the resistence to increased taxation, but I don't hear such a hew and cry about how much of your money is going down a rat hole in Iraq, being literally looted by corporate intrests with open-ended no-bid contracts and the billions of dollars being squandered in the desert in Iraq.

Of all the uses for tax dollars, I think education is one of the best.

Again, the proposal is for money to establish the riverfront campus, NOT for tuitions for students, and NOT for day to day operation expenses for WIU.

You seem OK with having tax dollars pay for student tuitions, which is great. But why then begrudge having tax dollars construct a state of the art school right here in the area for those students to attend?

WIU is a more affordable alternative to private colleges and would be the ONLY state university in the area offering BA and post grad degrees, as I understand it.

 
At 4/26/2006 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DOPE is correct on this issue.
He has obviously done his homework.
Thanks for clarifying why investing in higher education isn't "pork." Sometimes blog hosts can serve a useful educational purpose and now is such a time.

 
At 4/26/2006 6:37 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Gee, amazing how I'm educational and to be commended on the occasions I happen to agree with your position.
But what about all the other times I've explained things and it wasn't convenient? I'm sure those times I have when it went against the grain don't count.

At any rate, any positive comment towards myself or the blog is appreciated. I get one about, oh, every few months.

 
At 4/26/2006 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DOPE, Renew Moline appreciates your going to bat for its point of view on this important educational initiative. When you are right, you should be commended. When you are wrong, you should be challenged. That comes with the blog turf. And on this one, you're right.

 
At 4/27/2006 3:58 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah, but "wrong" in this case is subjective.

I'm never wrong. (until proven or convinced otherwise)

You just THINK I'm "wrong" Ha!

In reality, it's just that we hold differing views and opinions on some issue.

(Hey, put people who make a living trying to generate support and enthusiasm from politicians to stick taxpayers with the bill for enormously expensive and elaborate projects which don't yet exist and who are prone to promising the stars, hoping to get the moon, and settling for a decent sunset, against a congenital cynic and skeptic and there's bound to be disagreement.)

But of course, you're more than welcome to plead your case and show me the error of my ways.

That's the name of the game. If I am indeed "wrong", then I certainly hope that someone provide information and show me where and how.

I, like everyone, base my opinions and views on what I know and my experience, and it's near impossible to know absolutely everything about any given subject, let alone complex issues.

One thing I've always hoped would come of this blog was that myawld and readers could learn from those in a position to know.

So far, that's not come to pass to any great extent.

I'd hoped that I and others could put out what we knew and thought on a subject or issue and that those who were closer to the issue or had greater knowledge of it might come forward and illuminate things.

I hoped that this place could be a great resource to get informed and for people to get the information they need to form a rational opinion.

So I welcome anyone who wishes to point out where I'm ignorant or provide readrs with facts and information which they may not be aware of.

If I'm truly wrong about something, don't just sit there, tell me why you think so and show me why.

I don't like being told I'm wrong, (who does?), but I dislike being wrong even more, so I welcome corrections.

I'm not easily led, and there's no guarantee that any amount of facts or arguments will alter my view of something, but I'll appreciate anything which educates me and readers on any subject.

On the WIU question, it's not hard to consider that a worthy project and goal.

Thus far, I haven't seen the things that put me off, namely, money going to some half-brained scheme to solely benefit a narrow interest or business, backroom deals and schemes which rip off taxpayers and which is clearly designed to keep the public in the dark until the deal is already done, and pompous politicians spinning the facts and trying to take all the credit for the efforts of many very dedicated and hard working people.
(well, two out of three ain't bad.)

 
At 4/27/2006 4:02 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah, but "wrong" in this case is subjective.

I'm never wrong. (until proven or convinced otherwise)

You just THINK I'm "wrong" Ha!

In reality, it's just that we hold differing views and opinions on some issue.

(Hey, put people who make a living trying to generate support and enthusiasm from politicians to stick taxpayers with the bill for enormously expensive and elaborate projects which don't yet exist and who are prone to promising the stars, hoping to get the moon, and settling for a decent sunset, against a congenital cynic and skeptic and there's bound to be disagreement.)

But of course, you're more than welcome to plead your case and show me the error of my ways.

That's the name of the game. If I am indeed "wrong", then I certainly hope that someone provide information and show me where and how.

I, like everyone, base my opinions and views on what I know and my experience, and it's near impossible to know absolutely everything about any given subject, let alone complex issues.

One thing I've always hoped would come of this blog was that myself and readers could learn from those in a position to know.

So far, that's not come to pass to any great extent.

I'd hoped that I and others could put out what we knew and thought on a subject or issue and that those who were closer to the issue or had greater knowledge of it might come forward and illuminate things for us all.

I hoped that this place could be a great resource to get informed and arm people to form a rational opinion.

So I welcome anyone who wishes to point out where I'm ignorant or provide readers with facts and information which they may not otherwise be aware of.

If I'm truly wrong about something, don't just sit there, tell me why you think so and show me why.

I don't like being told I'm wrong, (who does?), but I dislike being wrong even more, so I welcome corrections.

I'm not easily led, and there's no guarantee that I'll alter my view of something, but I appreciate anything which educates me and readers on any subject.

On the WIU question, it's not hard to consider that a worthy project and goal.

Thus far, I haven't seen the things that put me off, namely, money going to some half-brained scheme to solely benefit a narrow interest or business, backroom deals and schemes which rip off taxpayers and which is clearly designed to keep the public in the dark until the deal is already done, and pompous politicians spinning the facts and trying to take all the credit for the efforts of many very dedicated and hard working people.
(well, two out of three ain't bad.)

 

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