Editorial: City shouldn’t fund Baylor before Humane Society

Matt Hellman | Photo Editor
Many animals at the Humane Society of Central Texas up for adoption that may be put down if the Humane Society is closed.

As college students, we at the Lariat understand the difficulties inherent in balancing a budget. To allocate funds in one area sometimes means to leave another without.

However, some dues must be paid. It would be ridiculous to buy a new video game or a pair of high heels with money that should be used to pay an electricity bill. In this instance, it makes sense to skip the luxury items and pay your dues.

The city of Waco could use some lessons in budgeting.

For example, this year, the city contributed $35 million from the Tax Increment Financing Zone (TIF) fund to the new Baylor stadium project. The funds will be used to build some of the infrastructure around the stadium, including electrical lines and other utilities, parking, bridges and the new marina.

The TIF fund, which started in 1982, is a city reservoir intended for the building of public infrastructure. The city has justified the decision to contribute a multi- million- dollar gift to an entity like Baylor by saying that to fund a stadium downtown will ultimately bring the city more money, as the presence of the stadium will draw further business and development.

We commend the joint effort of Baylor and the city to aid in the revitalization of Waco, and yet, while the city is giving money to Baylor, they have tragically neglected another organization that works for the public good.

The Humane Society, which requested a mere $75,000 increase for its operating budget, was not only denied additional funding — but the city failed to renew its contract with the Waco branch of the Humane Society, leaving them no kennel space in the shelter with which to house animals for adoption or funds with which to build a new kennel.

Furthermore, the city has indicated no interest in continuing the shelter’s adoption program.

Animals taken to the city’s new facility will be held for a mere 72 hours, barring outside circumstances such as the owners arriving, before they are euthanized.

The Humane Society provides a necessary and useful function, one the city should readily endorse.

We question the city’s ability to shortchange what is essentially a public service organization for Baylor, which not only has a stadium already — Floyd Casey — but is also capable of raising revenue through other means. Baylor was given $35 million; $75,000 is less than half of 1 percent of $35 million — approximately .214 percent. And the city can’t find money to keep the shelter open?

The Humane Society has no other shelter in which to operate, and no other way to raise a sufficient amount of money to cover its operating needs.

It seems logical that the city should approve the funding increase and yet they did not, though they have the money to donate millions to a private, religious college with a significant revenue stream.

The heartless politics of this decision mean the rich are getting richer — and most defenseless members of our society, homeless animals, are paying for it.