The Voucher Program

We consider the voucher program legislation Tuesday on Council.

The problems with this are several:

1. The vouchers are funded by CDBG (community development block grants) funds, which have gone down every year.

2. The teams that are not participating this year have participated in the past, but did not do so this year because they were told there would be no funds available until at least June.

3. If all the teams were required to use the city program instead of their existing scholarship programs (some of these teams are very heavily funded), there would be less money to spread around in the city program, i.e. increase the number of groups drawing from the pool of money and there is less per group to go around. Some teams really need the voucher money. Some teams do not.

4. It is no secret that were the city to force these groups to participate, these groups would start tightening up on all the requirements. A few groups in town relax residency standards because in some parts of the city there are not enough kids to make a team. I guarantee you there would be no relaxed rules if this legislation passed.

And then there is my overriding philosophy on legislating. If there is no problem, the legislature should offer no solution. To offer a solution where there is no problem will create a problem where there had been none.

This is a solution without a problem. Were it to pass and survive a veto, where there had been limited funds that could support kids in need, there would be limited funds unable to support kids in need.

Where there had been children able to play on all-star teams without their residency being questioned, there would now be children shut out of play.

I don’t think this is going to have enough votes to pass. But in any event, we will consider it in committee at 4pm and, should it pass committee, at 6pm on Council.

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Erick Erickson

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