Some Good Proposals to Cut Wasteful Spending
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Curb the Pork Barrel Corps
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
Some Good Proposals to Cut Wasteful Spending Now that the brouhaha surrounding spending reductions in Bush’s FY03 budget has largely ended, it’s time to start highlighting some of the fiscally responsible cuts that the President made to a number of the most wasteful programs and agencies. In the first of a series of profiles that will be made over the next several months, today we will outline proposed reductions to the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The administration views the Corps of Engineers as an agency that has lost its direction. Congressional pork barrel spending combined with the agency’s effort to grow its annual budget has led them astray of their core mission of commercial navigation, flood damage reduction and environmental protection. Bush has proposed a cut from $4.5 billion to $4 billion in overall spending for the Army Corps of Engineers.
It’s no secret that lawmakers on Capitol Hill have acted like kids in a candy store when enacting the Corps budget. Corps projects are extremely parochial in nature and especially popular during election years when the pressure is more intense to bring home the bacon. In fact, protecting the Corps budget is one of the few instances recently where there has been bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill — the ultimate opportunity for lawmakers to scratch each other’s backs. In a hearing this week, lawmakers savagely criticized the administration for cutting the Corps budget, while defending the agency as doing “God’s work” and referring to the Office of Management and Budget’s efforts to rein in the Corps as part of the “axis of evil.”
As a result, Corps projects often get very little bang for their buck by wasting large amounts of taxpayer dollars to benefit narrow private interests with deep pockets and strong political connections.
The proposed budget for the Corps is a commendable effort to turn the tide. Bush’s proposal limits spending to the Corps’ primary mission areas, seeks to reduce an out-of-control construction backlog, and concentrates limited resources on the projects that provide the greatest public benefits.
Taxpayer-backed funding for low priority, underused waterways has been reduced by close to $30 million dollars. Currently, 30% of the nation’s inland waterways system budget is used to operate and maintain river segments that move just 2.3% of the commerce. In fact, many of these waterways have almost no barge traffic. It would be less expensive to hire a fleet of limousines to ship cargo than to continue funding these waterways!
The proposed budget cuts beach project funding by 56%, saving nearly $75 million. These projects primarily benefit local economies, yet federal taxpayers have been picking up most of the tab up until now.
Environmental infrastructure projects that fund municipal water supply and wastewater treatment are lawmakers’ favorite pork. The President rightfully proposes to save over $82 million dollars by eliminating these projects altogether.
Proposing these cuts to the Army Corps of Engineers is only a first step towards getting them enacted. In an election year, lawmakers are inclined to bring home the bacon and keep the federal dollars flowing to projects that benefit districts. The challenge now is for President Bush to defend these cuts before Congress and for Congress to demonstrate a little restraint by embracing these common sense budget reforms that will save taxpayer dollars.
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
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