WCBD, the NBC affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina, reports that the Charleston County Council is changing the rules for distributing some $300,000 a year in taxpayers' money to charitable groups. At least one council member wants to end the practice entirely, saying the money should be used for legitimate county services or returned to taxpayers. Another defends the policy of involuntary giving, saying, "This is folks who've been entrusted with the public dole—public resources—trying to make the very best decisions that we can so that the public gets the biggest bang for their dollars."
If you think of taxpayers' money as synonymous with "the public dole," it's hard to see the problem with giving it to causes that politicians consider worthy. It sounds like the issue might not have come up at all but for a county donation last year "to a lobby group for the legalization of marijuana." As WCBD explains, critics and supporters of the county's donations "agree that questionable groups like marijuana lobbyists are not welcome at the table."
[Thanks to Allen St. Pierre for the tip.]