State vote on money short-sighted

Members of the Florida Legislature served defeat to programs in the state in need of money. Citing insufficient plans for federal funds, the Florida House voted to send millions of dollars back to the federal government. This vote was a short-sighted ruling made by legislators who seem to think the federal government offers “free” money like this all the time.

The money was being offered by the government to pay for breast cancer awareness campaigns, feeding the poor and cleaning oil spills in Florida, according to Thursday’s St. Petersburg Times. However, because the agencies receiving the money could not give the government sound plans for its use, the legislators could not vote for it.

Had legislators been thinking proactively, the money could have been approved by the budget committee, and then held until the agencies requesting financial help could submit satisfactory plans. It seems idiotic to pass up money with no strings attached when the state is in the midst of a budgetary crunch, and issues such as breast cancer, the environment and the hungry are such hot issues.

Deciding how to spend millions of dollars is not an easy task, and agencies that really need the money should not be denied funding due to a lack of time to prepare plans, or some legislator’s opinion of how the money should be spent. The money should have been approved so the opportunity to use it in the future would be available. Besides, when the federal government decides to hand over a few million dollars, the first thing to do is take it, and worry about how to spend it later.