To the editor:

The city of Sandy Springs is soliciting nonprofit organizations in Sandy Springs to request funding from the city.

The city proposes to use monies taken involuntarily from taxpayers and donate it on a “pick and choose a winner basis” to the competing nonprofit organizations. In exchange, the nonprofit will offer a service or program to the benefit of the city.

Government is supposed to provide for essential services and needs when spending taxpayer funds. When a government begins funding nonprofit organizations, no matter how noble the program, the consequences are that a taxpayer-dependent organization, mission creep, and taxpayer funds spent according to government bureaucratic whims can result.

If the proposed service is an essential one that government normally would have provided anyway, then outsourcing may be a good option if it is based on a competitive bidding process, and a nonprofit could perform that essential service at a lower cost to the taxpayer. That would be true for each proposed service.

The city of Sandy Springs’ Nonprofit Requests for Funding and Support states that “the city of Sandy Springs has no financial responsibility to assist or provide nonprofit organizations with funding, resources, or labor.” Precisely, so. Neither does any other governmental entity.

It is irrelevant and unimportant that the total proposed amount is a small amount of a government’s total budget. It is unimportant and irrelevant that “this amount shall be no more than the amount that can be accommodated from on-going operating revenues which are in excess of operating expenditure, after all contingency and fund balance reserves have been met.”

The Council on Public Policy strongly encourages the mayor and City Council to reconsider appropriating and spending funds from taxpayers for the purpose favoring a few selected nonprofit organizations on a “pick-and-choose” basis. It is not a proper function of government.

Kent Gildersleeve

The Council on Public Policy