NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Earmarked "Pork Projects" Climb By One-third

April 9, 2002

When a Capitol Hill politician wants federal funds for a project in his home state or district, he "earmarks" the money in a budget entry. There are 8,341 such earmarks in the fiscal 2002 budget -- 32 percent more than last year, according to the "Pig Book," compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste.

This year's $20.1 billion appropriation represents an increase of 9 percent over last year.

  • Per capita, such projects will cost taxpayers $32.21 this year.
  • For their money they will get a tattoo-removal program in California, a project to restore chimneys in Georgia, and efforts to combat "Goth culture" in Missouri, among others.
  • The three top states in terms of earmarks per capita are Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia.
  • Rank also has its privileges: South Dakota, home of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, jumped from fourth to ninth on the list, and Mississippi, home of former Majority Leader Trent Lott, was third on the list last year.

The book's authors say specific earmarks are hurting the nation's ability to fight the war on terrorism. There was an $18.5 billion in pork-barrel spending in 2001, and Pentagon officials predict an $18 billion shortfall in the Defense Department budget to fight the war on terrorism.

Source: Stephen Dinan, "Pork List Shows Rise from 2001 Spending," Washington Times, April 9, 2001.


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