Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., June 4, 1998. Interview C-0328-4. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Pros and cons of discretionary funds

Holshouser discusses discretionary funds, which he thinks "tend to be slush funds" that operate because of personal impulses rather than policy priorities. However, these monies can find effective use.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with James E. Holshouser Jr., June 4, 1998. Interview C-0328-4. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

One might argue, I remember in an earlier conversation that we had. I think you quoted a fellow named Andy Jones as saying I don't know why you want to be governor because you make at least an enemy a day. But the other side of that kind of thing as it relates to pork barrel projects is that if you as a legislator or governor are trying to help out some particular local organization with a state allocation that means that money is not going to somebody else and probably also has in their mind a legitimate request in there. So you do run the risk some times of making some people unhappy in that process.
And the more discretionary money you have the more those decisions have to be made. I am not big on discretionary money. They tend to be slush funds that are used for less than the best purposes all too often. At the same time the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Coastal Plaines Regional Commission monies from Washington were things that we used very effectively for things that needed to be done and because of the way the state budget was set up couldn't have been done that way in some cases because of timing. When Old Maine, the original Indian structure at Pembroke burned in '73 or '74, there had already been some talk about that building needed to be torn down and the Indians were all unhappy about it. I had promised them that if I were elected, that I would see that that didn't happen. When it burned down I called Bill Friday and I said just sort of an extension of that promise we needed to try to rebuild that building rather than demolishing what is left. Take the walls that are still standing and work from that. I will get you some planning money from Coastal Plaines Commission to go ahead and start which is always the first thing you do with people is telling them you will help them a little bit with the money. Otherwise the university would have to come back in the next budget cycle with money for plans for building it; that would have been two or three years down the road. As it turned out they were able to start the planning the next week. And that is effective use of that kind of money. At the same time a lot of it just gets sort of frittered away on things. Because if Joe Jones who is your county manager in X county calls up and says we really got to have something done about our library up here; it is fallen in. An Appalachian Regional Commission has some money that can be used for libraries and so maybe that is not a bad thing. But that might not have been the best use of that money. It ended up there because Joe Jones was your old friend. And government ought to be on a basis of policies not people for the most part. But again, a lot of happens because of the Floyd Crouses of the world.