Monday, April 13, 2009

Turning Green in to Gold

What if I told you that if you gave me $370,000, I could get you $4 million? Assuming you know I'm not some exiled Nigerian prince or seller of some misspelled erectile dysfunction drug (V1agra anyone?) , you'd have to take me up on that offer.

Well, that's basically what Michigan State did this past year. Sparty spent $370,000 on lobbying at the federal level and, in return, was awarded more than $4 million in earmark spending, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

That number may actually be a little low. Rep. Mike Rogers inserted more than $10 million into the last budget for projects State is "heading up", though not all of that will be spent at MSU. In addition, the university stands to gain from federal stimulus dollars spent on transportation projects in East Lansing.

And let's not forget the indirect gain State banked thanks to stimulus rules that prohibit the state of Michigan, which is facing a huge budget deficit, from cutting higher ed spending. That's saving an estimated three percent of MSU's state aid - which had been estimated at about $9.1 million.

Dollars spent: $370,000. Dollars received or saved: More than $19 million. Not a bad return on investment, eh?

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