Federal grant news

President Trump recently signed into law the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 (S. 583). A couple media outlets (CBS and Fox) reported the legislation “approves federal grants” to help veterans get priority in hiring and training for law enforcement jobs. Fact check: partially true.

The new law does not create a new grant program or provide new funding to law enforcement agencies for this purpose. The law simply modifies the existing Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program. COPS Grantees are now allowed to prioritize the hiring and training of veterans with their grant funds. Read the legislation’s text here (.pdf)

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Commentary: Big Bird has the upper hand on Trump

The White House released the President’s 2018 budget in March and, predictably, it proposes to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Headlines such as “Big Bird on the Chopping Block” and “The End of Big Bird?” dominated media outlets. Could Sesame Street disappear if the CPB loses federal funding? Supporters claim any cuts will harm children through the loss of educational programming. Opponents point to the nation’s $20 trillion dollar debt and say cuts need to be made everywhere (and, in some circles, because Big Bird is a commie propaganda tool). They’re both wrong. Let’s dig into the numbers.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit corporation that owns Sesame Street, solved the age-old problem of sustainability. From its modest beginnings in the late-1960s—through grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the Ford and Carnegie foundations—Sesame Street has grown into a global brand with annual revenues exceeding $100 million according to the company’s audited financial reports.[1] Recent IRS tax filings show that federal grants account for no more than four percent of revenues.[2]

IRS filings also reveal generous compensation packages earned by its top executives. In 2014, Sesame Workshop’s former CEO earned more than $586,000, in salary and benefits, for the nine months leading up to his retirement (the previous year, he earned $672,000). Ten other key employees earned an average $382,000 in annual compensation. Sesame Workshop’s lead writer pulled down an impressive $597,000 salary in 2014.2,[3]

Sesame Workshop clearly does not need government grants to stay afloat. In fact, the money it currently receives isn’t used to produce domestic Sesame Street episodes (more on this later). Any financial issues Sesame Workshop has in the future won’t be due to federal funding cuts.

Continue reading “Commentary: Big Bird has the upper hand on Trump”

The machine has awoken

Proposed federal regulations and information collection activities (ICAs) are back on the rise. In the Trump administration’s first four weeks, between 50-75 proposed regs or ICAs were posted to regulations.gov per week. That number has steadily increased. Last week, over 200 new proposed regulations or ICAs opened for public review and comment. By comparison, the Obama administration posted 400-500 proposed regulations or ICAs every week. It’s only a matter of time until we’re back to those levels. Uncle Sam can’t help himself.

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