Date: Thu, 22 Jun 1995 09:07:42 -0400 From: "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." Subject: Re: A Dumb Question about the NEH Wayne Glowka's comment (question) on possible transfer of NEH money to the states is not dumb at all. Here's the why not, as far as I can see: 1) there would be 50 bureaucracies for people to deal with instead of one, requiring many times (though perhaps not 50 times) the support staff. From what I have seen of NEH, their staff and offices are now lean and mean, not bloated and ripe for hacking like the Dept. of Agriculture. 2) state funding for individuals (fellowships) would be fine, but as Wayne suggested it would be very difficult for those of us with multi-state projects. Even larger projects within each state would have terrible problems: if each state had $3 million, of which $1 million went for overhead of different kinds, it would be hard to justify any large grants owing to the large number of state interests that need to be satisfied. The Ga Humanities programs dole out $1000 at a time. 3) many of the projects that NEH was established to help---dictionaries, atlases, editions, translations---are in the national interest, not in the interest of any state. Dividing up money by state makes every local interest a player *against* the larger national interest, because state bureaucracies would want to keep the money at home and not fritter it away on things that were not of local interest. At best, there would be an interest in paying scholars and citizens within the state, even if their projects were national or global, and even that would make it hard to work collaborations across state lines (as I have attempted several times). 4) Finally, block grants to states do not always get used for the purposes one expects them to. One can imagine the (possible) NEH block grant to Georgia being used to fund Gov. Miller's Country Music Hall of Fame, or paying for reduced-price movie tickets for urban residents at midnight (instead of crime-bill basketball), or funding the establishment of "humanities camps" for first-time offenders that the state didn't want to pay to put in high-security prison (like our current bootcamps). While these might be good ideas and even be popular in the state, they are hardly the kind of scholarly programs that our national NEH supports. Regards, Bill ****************************************************************************** Bill Kretzschmar Phone: 706-542-2246 Dept. of English FAX: 706-542-2181 University of Georgia Internet: billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Athens, GA 30602-6205 Bitnet: wakjengl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]uga