NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Congressional Pork Is Filet Mignon To Some States

November 19, 1999

Quick, which two states will walk away with more pork-barrel money than any others in the fiscal 2000 budget? Hint: a Senator from one of them is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a Senator from another is Senate Majority Leader.

If you guessed Alaska and Mississippi, you would be right -- and this isn't the first year that Alaska has led the pack.

  • Last year, Alaska received more money per person than any other state, $273 according to Citizens Against Government Waste -- with Hawaii second at $155.
  • The national average was $19.
  • Mississippi led in earmarked money in 1998, thanks to that state's Republican Sen. Trent Lott, the Majority Leader -- and the state may tie Alaska for most money in the coming year because of $375 million going there to begin building a $1.5 billion Navy ship that the Pentagon never requested.

Among the projects snared by Alaska's Republican Sen. Ted Stevens is $15 million to study the aurora borealis, $100,000 to conduct a census of Pacific walruses, $4 million to help stranded sea lions, $5 million to monitor fish, $900,000 to the Bering Sea Fisherman's Association and $22 million in emergency financing over three years for four tiny towns that were hit hard by restrictions on tree cutting. All this and much more for a state whose population is about the same as that of Milwaukee, 614,000.

Nationally, the amount of pork projects in seven of the 13 spending bills for fiscal 2000 is estimated by CAGW at $14.65 billion -- surpassing the previous record for pet projects of $14.5 billion set in 1997.

Source: Lizette Alvarez, "Congress on Record Course for 'Pork,' With Alaska in a Class of Its Own," New York Times, November 19, 1999.


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