Two Drastically Different Approaches
Their views on working to help secure grant funding for governments and organizations in the 53rd district could not be more different.
The short video above captures the vastly different positions of each candidate on an issue of extreme consequence for the district. During a recent debate between Colton Moore and Steven Henry, it was revealed that the two have very different opinions on the issue of grant funding.
The federal government collects a lot of taxes from northwest Georgia. Much or all of that money can be returned to the region by obtaining grant funding.
Most sensible people agree we need to reduce federal spending, but failing to recognize the importance of the millions in grant money we receive as a region would be foolish. The need for grant funding would disappear if the federal tax collection in the district was reduced in an amount equal to the amount of federal grant funds the district receives, and those funds stayed local or better yet, right in the citizens' pockets. But until Congress makes that happen, we need elected officials at every level to fight to bring tax dollars back to the district.
Putting Philosophical Purity Over Reality.
In his answer, Colton Moore readily admitted that he would not be an effective advocate and could not be relied upon to lobby for grant funding and discretionary spending in the 53rd district. The effect will be that Moore will increase the financial burden on local governments and entities that currently receive grant funding. That means higher taxes and fees in the 53rd district.
His approach won't just add to the existing financial hardships many citizens in his district face, he'll create brand new ones too since some of the lost grant funding won't be replaced by local revenue. Some programs won't be funded at all. That mean job losses in addition to local tax increases.
Moore's position is rooted in the American founding principles that his opponent and almost all conservatives agree with. The problem with Moore's approach is that he is putting philosophical purity ahead of actual reality. If the framers of the Constitution had taken the same attitude in 1787, we wouldn't have the longest-surviving constitution in history.
The same attitude toward philosophical purity over reality can be seen on the left side of the aisle from the likes of democratic socialists, and those who brush aside the horrors of 20th century socialist experiments and say that real socialism has never been tried.
Applying Principles to Duty and Situations
The father of conservatism, Irish-born English statesman Edmund Burke, explained that principled leadership requires that politicians must “model our principles to our duties and our situation.” This view was shared by the founders.
Elected officials should be intelligent and prudent enough to believe in and work toward principles like shrinking government without causing major unnecessary financial or other harms to the citizens they are elected to serve. Steven Henry expressed this view in his answer.
The Stakes Are High
Federal grant funding is provided to counties, city governments, schools, nonprofits, charities, private businesses, and even individuals in the region. The grant programs are often administered by the state government.
There are hundreds of projects and programs funded by grants, including meals on wheels, after-school and extracurricular programs, primary health care centers, training and equipment for first responders, library services, health care for the uninsured, and capital improvement and infrastructure projects.
An in-depth study by the Tax Foundation published in 2019 looked at the amount of federal taxes collected in each county across the country and compared it with the amount of funding distributed by the federal government to various entities in each county. As it turns out, the federal government collected less revenue from the counties in the 53rd district than what flowed into the district from various grants and federal funding programs.
The differences between these two men are not shallow nor cynical and it would be a mistake to think because the contest is a primary election that citizens will generally get the same type of leader no matter the winner. The divergence between the candidates on the issue of grant funding should remind voters that the stakes are high on May 24th.