something about tax dollars that many working people feel
disconnected from. It’s like once it leaves their hands, they
feel like they lose total ownership. Nothing is further from the
truth. It’s still our money. We’re trusting it to people
to spend it for the greater good. The American Rescue Act is about to
return millions of our money—in some cases billions—back
to us again. We need a plan.
let these politicians milk us for taxes on three different levels,
then basically let them spend it however they please. This is a
phenomenon that I’ve been writing and talking about for years.
These are our hard-earned dollars and we don’t fight hard
enough for transparency or accountability.
CARES Act of 2020 sent $2 trillion to states to deal with Covid-19.
Granted, most of us were in survival mode most of that year, reeling
from the effects of the deadly pandemic. Money was flowing but was it
spent wisely and equitably?
from the American Rescue Plan are coming to a city or county near
you. We need to have something to show for it after this $2 trillion
Biden Administration did something different from the first round of
money. They used a formula based on the unemployment rate of each
state at the end of 2020 instead of the overall population of the
state. A tad bit more equitable.
will get nearly $800 million. Milwaukee will get $406 million.
Atlanta will get $165 million. Chicago will get $2 billion (yes,
that’s with a “b”).
Louis will receive $500 million. We saw how the first pot of money
went and learned a few hard lessons. We have some ideas of where we
want the dollars to go. Our new mayor agrees with us.
Jones, the city’s first African-American female mayor, is
setting up a process for citizen input on how to best use the
stimulus funds. Jones has a website for such and she’s also
doing a series of webinars. It’s a hybrid model of
has its roots in Porte Alegre, Brazil in 1989. There are thousands of
such projects around the world now. The basic idea is to take people
through a process and give them the power to decide how to spend
public money based on the needs of their neighborhood or city.
is rich in civic lessons. You learn about budgets, which city
departments do what, how to make assessments, how to appreciate other
points of view, how to vote or reach consensus. Those who are engaged
get a realistic glimpse of what it means to govern. It’s
democracy in action.
half-billion dollars sound like a lot of money but it's a drop in the
bottomless bucket of needs. Cities like St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago
and Detroit are not only recovering from a pandemic, they're
recovering from decades of neglect and poor public policy steeped in
urge you to get involved in the local distribution of the Rescue
funds. We have to put some serious dollars down in a way that will
impact lives in a real-world way.
all, this is our money. It’s changing hands but we have to make
sure the funds bring about a change. There must be something tangible
that we can point to once $4 trillion dollars is gone.