Many stimulus requests simply silly
The lines are forming at the stimulus trough, and the definition of 'shovel-ready' has proven to be amazingly broad and sometimes outright silly. The State of Ohio, for example, has received requests for everything from a pro wrestling team to an origami paper-folding company, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Among requests (and please keep in mind these are requests, not grants, so blame the requestor) made to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's office for stimulus cash include:
- $200,000 to train the economically challenged as Ultimate Impact Wrestlers. "We would need to obtain a building for training and shows as we have currently been using my garage for training and this [is]unheated."
- $2.8 million for a demonstration track for the MonoMobile, an electric car that hooks up to a track for long-distance trips. (Robert Heinlein lives!)
- $3,200 to replace Levalor-style blinds in three classrooms in Medina.
- $7,500 for a Chillicothe coffee business to produce reusable plastic coffee containers for its customers (how does this differ from the travel mug I use every day?)
- $8,000 to make "Hand folding Origami decorations by Senior Citizens to sell on Ebay and Amazon to assist in small increases in income for those that can not meet their monthly expenses."
- $10,000 to start a web site to "facilitate the imagination and dreams of all children and their families" through creative writing.
- $10,000 for-profit a Warren coffee house to expand special events to give kids "a place to hang out and stay off the streets."
To date, over 8,000 separate requests (the vast majority legitimate) have been received. Most fall with these areas:
- Roads, bridges, sewers and other infrastructure
- Law enforcement staffing, training and equipment
- Community health and wellness programs (including many targeting obesity)
- Historical preservation
- Recreation (trails, particularly)
As I reviewed these many requests, I found myself wondering just how many of these were 'shovel ready' because they were already budgeted? How many communities are simply sticking their own money back in their pockets until they see if they can get stimulus funds instead?
Thanks to Jill Riepenhoff and Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch