Federal Subsidies to Private Luxury Landowners
In the midst of a record-breaking budget deficit, how vital do you think it is to hand taxpayer money out to luxury beachfront land owners, some of whom are not even American?
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
America's beaches attract more than just sand crabs and surfers: they are also a magnet for the rich and famous. The American cultural elite have long flocked to the beach during the dog days of summer and increasingly, they have taken to buying beachside properties, building beachfront villas, and plastering up "No Trespassing" signs. At the same time that this building trend has intensified, America's beaches have been doing what they always did -- eroding and shifting. In an expensive exercise worthy of Sisyphus, these wealthy beach landowners have convinced Congress that pumping sand on beaches to keep their poorly placed houses from floating away should be a federal responsibility.
The Army Corps renourishment efforts are both costly and ineffective. Though it continues to seek federal funds for beach restoration year after year, the Corps knows very well that these projects are bound to fail. The agency dredges sand from offshore locations and pumps it onshore to rebuild eroded areas. But, beach erosion is a continual process, and replenishment projects serve only to temporarily keep sand from washing back out to sea.
Today, from Florida to New York to California, Corps restoration projects are increasingly becoming the primary "solution" to beach erosion -- which is a problem only when private developers built too close to the coastline and are at high risk for hurricane and storm damage. Beach rebuilding is now the fastest growing area of the Corps' work. In New Jersey, the Corps has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to dredge sand from the ocean floor and dump it on miles of coastline. Experts agree that virtually no beach replenishment program has lasted more than five years without costly rebuilding efforts -- in New Jersey, most of the Corpsí work eroded within three years. In one case, more than half of a 350-foot wide beach all but washed away.
Beach lovers might argue that the replenishment program is necessary so Americans can continue to spend summer vacations at the beach. But who really benefits from beach restoration? Homeowners benefit from increased property values and communities might benefit from increased property taxes and tourism. But, even though public access is the law on replenished shorelines and federal taxpayers have spent hundreds of million on beach renourishment, some cities and towns that willingly receive the federal subsidy are creatively blocking "outsiders" from using "their" beach.
Efforts by the Clinton and Bush administrations to reduce the federal beach building program have been met with fierce resistance by New Jersey and Florida lawmakers who are unwilling to give up millions in federal dollars. Both administrations argued that popular coastal areas can and should pay the majority of replenishment costs because they are the ones who benefit economically. The 2006 budget continues this trend by saying that repetitive renourishment of beaches should be a local responsibility. The Bush administration has requested only $46 million for these types of projects, less than half of what the Congress provided last year.
Taxpayers need to put a message in a bottle, and cast it down the Potomac to Capitol Hill: draw a line in the sand and stop sending our hard-earned tax dollars out to sea.
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110
or by email at email@example.com
TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
The Blue Dog Coalition's Plan for Reducing the Federal Government's Budget Deficit (PDF)
|Email this article||Sign up for free Progress Report updates via email|
What would be some practical steps toward eliminating Congressional handouts to private land owners? Share your views with The Progress Report:
|Page One||Page Two||Archive|
|Discussion Room||Letters||What's Geoism?|