April 20, 2018 – Government Waste Erodes Our Freedoms, Part V: Federally-Funded Volunteering
Total Cost to Arizona Taxpayers: $36,473,684, or $14 dollars per Arizona household
Cumulative Cost to Arizona Taxpayers of “Freedom Friday” Government Waste: $244,152,271, or $95.23 per household
What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a community volunteer program currently funded by the federal government. It was created by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, and has grown to be the largest community service program in the United States. Originally acting as the domestic version of the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps attempts to alleviate poverty in poor neighborhoods and assists in residential and local projects. Every year, over 75,000 individual volunteers work full and part-time to assist communities through this program and receive a monthly stipend and education benefits in return.
What is the problem?
AmeriCorps receives around $350 million annually. These funds allow the AmeriCorps to operate and issue funding to grantees at the state and local levels, which includes nonprofits. While the program’s goal of strengthening community service and volunteer outreach is a noble one, there is no constitutional authority or reasoning for providing federal funding to carry it out. Given the current fiscal state of our nation, where we borrow a lot more money than we take in every year, continuing to fund programs like this one can’t be justified.
What are we doing about it?
It is time we take a hard look at every taxpayer dollar we spend and ensure each purpose is justified by the Constitution. Within a 5-year period, the AmeriCorps program costs roughly $1.7 billion. This is an excessive amount of funding that has no constitutional basis. That is why I am introducing a bill to defund the program. We should only use taxpayer money on the federal government responsibilities outlined in our constitution. Our deficit is over $21 trillion and our country cannot continue its practice of runaway spending.