Monday, October 7, 2013

Overhead in overdrive in the stupid college savings boondoggle

Yet another reason to not vote for Ed FitzGerald for Governor of Ohio.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald's college savings account program will cost taxpayers $522,000 in annual overhead, about one-quarter of the program's $2 million budget, county records show.

That percentage is significantly more than the vast majority of large charities spend to administer their programs, according to Charity Navigator, a non-profit watchdog that tracks budgets of $1 million or more.

"I think that it does seem high," Charity Navigator spokeswoman Sandra Miniutti told Northeast Ohio Media Group on Friday.

Of the 7,000 philanthropic agencies Charity Navigator tracks, less than 4 percent spend a quarter or more of their budgets on administrative costs, Miniutti said. Most spend 15 percent or less, she said.

This whole savings account thing is a perfect example of Democrat boondoggling. Tax the parents, funnel money to kids, buy votes, raise the cost of education. Then repeat as often as possible and if anyone attacks the plan, tell them they must hate the children.

The program's likely overhead is drawing criticism from County Councilman Dave Greenspan, a Republican who has frequently questioned initiatives by FitzGerald since the Democratic county executive announced he is running for governor.

"Would you as a taxpayer give to a charity that had at least a [25 percent] administrative burden on the giving?" Greenspan said. "The answer is no. I believe it's no. I wouldn't do it."

But the FitzGerald administration objected Friday to comparing the savings account program's administrative expenses to those of charities.

"This program cannot be easily compared to this broad set of non-profit organizations. It has to be judged on its own merits," said Matt Carroll, chief of staff to FitzGerald.

The "merits" are easy to identify. This government program will give money to kids who will flunk out much more often than private charities will. Also accounts will be opened for everybody, and not everybody goes to college.

A similar program in San Francisco only had a 12 percent participation rate within its first three years. FitzGerald hopes to improve on those results by marketing his version of the program.

The county council's budget and finance committee will debate the request Monday.

The FitzGerald administration had hoped to launch the savings account this month. But concerns from county council over the program's details have delayed it.

The whole culture of savings argument is just dopey. You can't really encourage saving by giving people money they didn't earn. I hope this thing dies an appropriate death and the money is somehow returned to the taxpayer. Why do I live here again?

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