One of our current Mayoral candidates, a young gentleman by the name of Ben Konop, has staked out a rather interesting idea as part of his campaign.
As outlined at least briefly in last week's Toledo Free Press "10 ways Ben Konop can save Toledo if he is elected mayor", he proposes to call for an $80 million scholarship fund for higher education funded on cost savings that would be achieved by the County through cost cutting measures and privatizing the EMS service for the County.
This is not the first time that this particular mayoral candidate has sought County funding for college tuition, the last time suggesting that such funding could in some part be obtained by refusing to replace windows in a County-owned building that already had an approved capital improvement budget. (This seemed confusing to me at the time, as more energy efficient windows would show our desire to do the right "green" thing by saving energy, and would also save County money through reduced heating and cooling bills. Perhaps I simply don't understand the County Commissioner's priorities however.) However, the concept of where the money comes from deflects our attention from the real questions here:
- Why would you choose to saddle the county with reduced revenues at a time when you are choosing to remove yourself from responsibility for the county by running for Mayor of Toledo?
- If you could have saved money for the County by these measures (or any others for that matter), why haven't you already instituted them? - At what point did college tuition become the responsibility of the County (or any level of government for that matter)?
Oregon, OH Mayor Marge Brown and her city council evidently agree with me on this one. Spearheading an effort to shoot this concept down, Oregon just passed a measure opposed to this effort by a vote of 7 to 0 on Monday. As reported in FoxToledo.com yesterday, Mayor Brown in fact pointed out yet another potential problem in this scholarship effort, that being that since Commissioner Konop is a teacher at the University of Toledo, directing County funding to it may well be a conflict of interest.
I wonder sometimes whether it has occurred to any of our mayoral candidates that we could more easily bear the burden of things like tuition, both for ourselves and for our children, if our government were more efficient and our level of taxation were not so high. I wonder what they are really thinking when they propose pie-in-the-sky things like wind farms on landfills with taxpayer funding that can never be repaid by such a project, at a time when every taxpayer in the area could use more of their money back simply to make ends meet. I seriously wonder at any politician who believes that government does a better job of spending the taxpayer's money than that taxpayer does.
So while I'm sure that Mr. Konop proposed this plan with only the most altruistic of motives, I for one would like to politely decline his offer. We have seen again recently through the behavior of our current Mayor that we may well need a more of a gentleman in office, but we don't need this or any other county-funded scholar(ship).