The usual political suspects were rounded up for comment. Our specially bred state senator was in full cliche mode:
“[I will] fight to keep funding at a level that does not end services. It is very important that we not pull the rug from under these young people, some of whom are the most vulnerable in our community . . . I know we have to make some cuts (at the state level), and we’re going to make those cuts. But I don’t think we should do it on the backs of the most vulnerable among us.”
At least Pat Verschoore, the state rep. for Rock Island spoke in terms of reality, not trite talking points:
“We haven’t seen the budgets. They are supposed to be coming any day now . . . I don’t know if (the King Center) has been cut yet . . . We’re going to have to make cuts . . . It’s a shame the people who need the money the most will probably get hurt the most. It is going to be a brutal year for the agencies and for us who have to make the decisions.”
I’ve never been a big fan of Verschoore’s but at least he is forcing some to confront the reality that will come with less money for projects like this. The majority of the new 67% personal income tax increase will not be going to “the most vulnerable among us”—Jacobs and Verschoore voted for a big wad of it to go to the public employee union pensions—hardly “the most vulnerable.”
Congressman Bobby Schilling was asked for a comment also, and through his legislative assistant, another cold dose of reality was delivered:
“As far as your CDBG/Martin Luther King Jr. Community questions go, the city and county will set its priority for allocation of CDB funds . . . President Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposes cutting CDBG grants from $3.943 billion in FY 2010 to $3.684 billion in FY 2012. . . Congress will soon be taking up appropriations bills, and Rep. Schilling will closely monitor all proposed spending cuts.”
So there you have it—even the liberal god Obama has proposed cutting funds for “the most vulnerable among us”, and the funding for MLK Center is in the City and County of Rock Island’s hands. As usual, this story ends with the MLK executive director exhorting the faithful to contact Verschoore, Jacobs and Schilling.
I have some comments, too:
1. Calling legislators will probably be futile—there will be thousands demanding their pet projects be saved from the cuts.
2. Nobody will care more about the MLK Center than the people of Rock Island. No where in this article did I see anyone call on residents to step up to the plate and fill in the funding gaps. Rock Island is filled with caring, compassionate liberals—this should be their #1 priority in donating time and money. The era of everybody getting a taxpayer funded paycheck for everything is over.
3. Rock Island could certainly afford to do more for this center. All their public employee unions got juicy raises, and some of them even got taxpayer funded free shoes. Why doesn’t Mayor Pauley show a little more compassion for “the most vulnerable among us” rather than just the most politically powerful among us?
We need to move toward more local funding for local projects— why should the people of Cairo, Illinois and Bangor, Maine be forced to fund Rock Island’s MLK Center?
It’s time for the people to be doing for themselves and stop relying on tax money that is quickly drying up.