Archive for February, 2011

Prepare for the Pain!

Posted on February 10, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Prepare for the Pain!!! No… not the weather! It’s the budget!! We are all awaiting the President’s budget next week and hoping that our programs are exempt from the budget axe. Everyone here is surveying their neighbors, their contacts and eavesdropping in Starbucks to ascertain what is getting cut and by how much! I know, it’s a weird pastime!

We do note, however, that the House Republicans proposed, (today) some severe cuts for the remainder of FY 2011. For example, cut EPA by $1.6 BILLION, cut Food Safety and Inspection services by $53 million etc. If you want a full list of proposed cuts, please click here.

Of course, these cuts will need to balanced against the Senate and the Administration. So don’t panic… Yet.

On a less painful note, we met this week with the (newly thinned out) Blue Dog Coalition from the House. They were in New York for the first time in three years to meet with former President Bill Clinton who, apparently was sharing some messaging points and survival techniques. You have to admit, whether you like or dislike Nancy Pelosi, it took a lot of guts for the Blue Dogs to vote for Heath Shuler (yes, former Redskin and Saints football star) over Nancy Pelosi…. ! A separate breakfast, Steny Hoyer urged US industries to flaunt a “Made in America” focus. Sounds good to us.

Please call or write with any questions you may have. We will do our level best to figure it all out for you!

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Turner GPA Handicaps the 2012 Presidential Field

Posted on February 8, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

We believe it’s never too early to talk about presidential politics, but with the Iowa caucuses only a year off, it’s time to take the handicapping a little more seriously. With more than dozen GOP hopefuls considering a challenge to President Obama next year, voters in early caucus and primary states have a lot of learning to do. We didn’t do any polling here at TurnerGPA, but we do know a thing or two about national politics. While we’re ranking Mitt Romney number one, like most prognosticators, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a fresh face like John Thune or Tim Pawlenty capture the GOP imagination. Here are our rankings of the Republican field:

Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and 2008 presidential candidate, is considered the front runner in most corners. He has high name recognition and is a strong fundraiser. He raised $4.6 million last year and started 2011 with $1.3 million on hand. He’ll lose some Republicans because as governor he backed a state health care reform package that was similar to President Obama’s. And some continue to wonder if his Mormon religion will hold him back.

John Thune, the Senator from South Dakota, is a handsome, young, fund-raising dynamo who is little known outside Washington and his home state. Let’s get right to the bottom line: during the first three quarters of 2010 he raised $44 million and had $22 million on hand. He probably matches up better against Obama than the rest of the pack, but he may not appeal to the Tea Party types because his political resume is largely Washington-based.

Tim Pawlenty, the Governor of Minnesota, is a fresh Midwestern face with a track record of fiscal conservatism that could give him a huge advantage when consultants and pundits begin reprising the “it’s the economy stupid” mantra. His brand of “common sense conservatism” could appeal to the critical independent voting block, but might turn off the rock-ribbed conservative base. He’s never had to raise much money under Minnesota’s political financing laws, but he received $1.9 million during the first three quarters of last year and had $600,000 on hand.

Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 presidential candidate, maintains a strong base among religious conservatives. But this latest candidate from Hope faces a significant challenge in taking his Bible-belt popularity national. We know he can win in Iowa and the early battleground of South Carolina, but he lacks a strategy to succeed elsewhere. He’s an adequate, though not exceptional, fund raiser. By the end of October, he raised $819,000 and had $191,000 in the bank.

Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, has seen her 2012 star tarnished in recent months by missteps and attempts by some to tie her to the killings in Tucson. Still, the Mama Grizzly inspires fierce loyalty from her backers and it is way too early to count her out. Her name recognition is probably the highest in the field, she has strong support among social conservatives and the Tea Party and she is adept at tapping the grass roots for funds. She raised more than $2.5 million and had $1.3 million in the bank late last year. Still, Palin faces a bedrock challenge: Is she electable?

Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, is another Midwestern new-comer to national politics with a reputation as a fiscal conservative that could play well nationally. He’s been called a “nerdy chic” numbers wonk who would likely make the federal budget his key issue. But nerdy probably can’t win in a race against some of the far more charismatic Republican candidates, let alone against Obama. His fundraising abilities are questionable at best.

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, also enjoys support among the GOP faithful who remember his triumphant ascent to the speaker’s chair in 1994. He probably has the best name recognition among those who have never run for national office and he is clearly the field’s intellectual heavy weight. He’s got a few issues in his personal life, like multiple divorces, and his fundraising ability does not match his name recognition. He raised only $312,000 during the first three-quarters of last year and had $104,000 cash on hand.

Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota and Tea Party darling, probably isn’t ready for this list let alone a bid for the White House. She has no proven fund raising skills, little name recognition and a weak resume. But Bachmann enjoys fierce loyalty from the Tea Party and could be a dark horse candidate if the Tea Party and the public continue to sour on Palin. And, hey, she’s from Minnesota which is right next to Iowa.

Post your opinion on these and other potential candidates.

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Life Without Earmarks – Where Can I Go to Get My Funding?

Posted on February 8, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

President Obama sends his budget blueprint for fiscal 2012 to Congress this month and the administration has made clear it will be a painful year for many sectors of the economy. At the same time, Congress has been squawking about the budget deficit like never before, threatening its own austerity plan to freeze spending and eliminate earmarks.

So what’s a federal funding-seeker to do? While grants historically have been a target of budget cutters when fiscal austerity is sought in Washington, the fact is that cuts are rarely absolute and grant programs that are eliminated are often replaced with something else.

Which makes it all the more important that funding-seekers know their way around Washington. In an era of heightened competition for federal dollars, tracking the shifting federal budget terrain is key to finding money others may overlook.

One little-known resource is called the Federal Assistance Award Data System, or FAADS, which can be accessed to find out how the federal government is distributing its grant money. If you’re looking for a grant to, say, start a new business, a good place to start is to search the FAADS to see if the federal government is investing in your kind of venture.

The FAADS produces a file of standardized data records on all types of financial assistance awards made by federal agencies to all types of recipients at the end of each quarter of the federal fiscal year.

The records are a gold mine of data for grant seekers, identifying grants by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program code number and name, the type and amount of financial assistance, the type and location of the recipient and the geographic location of the enterprise.

So, if you were looking for a grant to develop energy conservation programs, the FAADS can show you who got grants for similar projects, how much they got, what they did with it and where. Valuable stuff.

Another great resource, Grants.gov, is a federal Web site that serves as a central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs and provides access to approximately $500 billion in annual awards.

So, again, let’s say you’re looking for energy conservation funds. Simply type “energy conservation” into the search box on Grants.Gov, and you’ll learn, for example, about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Assistance to High Energy Cost Rural Communities grants, a $15.5 million program to improve energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities serving rural communities where home energy costs are highest.

The Grants.Gov files contain information on eligibility, application dates, detailed synopses of programs’ goals, links to full grant announcements and instructions on how to apply.

As you can see, while the competition has intensified for a shrinking pool of federal grants, there’s a lot you can do to keep yourself in the game.

Need some help? Contact us and we’ll be happy to share our expertise.

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