Earlier this week, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) wrote a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding the possible misuse of grant funds. A recent study written by three University of Florida professors examined whether Illinois’ 2009 alcohol excise tax increase caused a decline in traffic fatalities. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health and it garnered national media attention, including stories in the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report.
The grant was provided to the professors to, in their words, “develop a research program of HIV prevention focused on the intersection of event-level alcohol use (i.e., alcohol use within 2 hours prior to sex) and sexual partner selection among minority adolescents.” But what does that have to do with alcohol excise taxes and traffic fatalities? That’s what NTU is trying to figure out.
NTU certainly understands and respects the role NIH grants have played in scientific and medical breakthroughs. At the same time, NTU believes taxpayer dollars must be used in a wise and transparent manner.
A copy of the letter can be found here.