BACK FROM THE GRAVE: PORK! Congressí annual spending process is like a zombie movie, no matter how many times some wasteful government projects and programs are killed, they keep coming back to torment taxpayers.
Pork Barrel Projects Keep Coming Back to Hurt Taxpayers
Taxpayers for Common Sense is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare. Here is their latest news update.
One of the worst examples of a project thatís risen from the grave is the proposed Auburn Dam on Californiaís American River. Congress has rejected the project five times in the last decade alone. This week, however, Congress will consider a spending bill that would require yet another study of building the $2.4 billion dam.
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), the projectís leading proponent, says the dam would increase flood control, power production and water storage for Sacramento. But an Army Corps of Engineers draft report notes that a competing proposal to raise Folsom Dam would increase the cityís flood protection at a lower cost. Also, the Bureau of Reclamation said in 1997 that there was no federal interest in building the project.
Another study would delay implementation of any flood control for the city, possibly costing taxpayers millions in emergency assistance and flood insurance payments.
The controversial Animas-La Plata (A-LP) water project is another project that just wonít die. Opponents argue that A-LP costs too much and does too little. An independent economic analysis of the project found that A-LP would only provide a 22-cent return per dollar invested.
Congress had never endorsed building A-LP until late last year when the Senate authorized the projectís construction, setting the stage for its last-minute inclusion in Congressí enormous catch-all spending bill. The House of Representatives, which rejected A-LP in 1996, had no chance to consider the projectís authorization outside of the context of other necessary government spending.
Agribusiness also benefits from zombie subsidies. Congress in 1998 stopped paying mink producers for advertising costs, only to revive the handout in last yearís agriculture spending bill. Similarly, a program to pay wool and mohair producers to produce wool for military uniforms (now made mainly from synthetic fibers) was killed in 1994, but reinstated in 1998. Congress is expected to increase mohair subsidies from $10 million to $16.9 million later this week!
For some Members of Congress the will to resurrect deceased pork-barrel projects is almost undeniable. How long they are allowed to feast on our hard-earned tax dollars depends on the efforts of opponents of government waste. With their leadership taxpayers may finally be able to drive a stake through the heart of some of these programs once and for all.
If you would like more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110
or by email
at firstname.lastname@example.org. TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
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