I have always had a problem with the millions of dollars in Homeland Security money flowing to the states. I recognize that some states and some larger cities probably should receive and use Homeland Security funds. But I believe the funds have become just another excuse to spend federal money for highly questionable projects.
A new report this week in Missouri shows that much of the money allocated for our state is either unaccounted for or unspent. The unspent portion doesn't bother me. In fact, that should be a signal to the federal government that after years of funding, perhaps the states don't actually need the money.
Gov. Matt Blunt says nearly $100 million in Missouri's money is unaccounted for. That's misleading in some ways because of the way the program works. But according to the Blunt administration, some of the funds were spent unwisely. That shouldn't come as a shock.
In the past two years, the feds have allocated $125 million for Missouri Homeland Security. But only $20 million has actually been spent. Why don't we tell the feds to save the money and not send it our way? As if that actually would happen!
If "free" money comes from Washington, state and local government feel compelled to spend it. But everyone needs to remember that those dollars are actually our tax dollars and there is absolutely nothing "free" about them.
Sikeston's airport, so I hear, is about to receive Homeland Security funds to fence the entire property. That may be needed but I seriously doubt if it's a legitimate Homeland Security issue. So by spending those funds that makes us as guilty as the next guy.
The Bush administration portrays itself as a "small government" conservative group. Well then don't increase the Homeland Security budget. Instead, scrutinize the funding requests and eliminate the phony projects that amount to a money grab.
Otherwise, drop the conservative label.