Day 3: No return call. Have called D.C., and I have been directed to a list (.pdf) of said earmarks. Of course, this is for FY2008… assuming that this is complete, it turns out that Pete Sessions is a “bacon boy.” When it comes to keeping the budget reined in, our local TX-32 Congresscritter is really no different than any Democrat, and definitely falls into the “Proud Appropriator” category.
It’s ten pages, and I’m not going to cite Defense earmarks, many of which would need FOIA requests to drill down on as to whether they’re really local, and some of which might be okay, and might be just pork, and I’m not qualified to say (**cough** Osprey **cough**), but here’s the local stuff:
- (U.S. Marshal’s office) “DFW Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team”: $100K
- Kickstart character development program. (After-school martial arts): $500K
- North Central Texas Regional Interoperability Project (oddly, not listed under DHS): $2.5MM
- Phoenix House Youth Drug Rehab Center: $1MM
- Dallas Trinity Lakes Project: $500K
- Dallas Floodway Extension (Army Corps of Engineers): $19MM
- Photovoltaic Energy Conversion Project: $700K
- Upper Trinity River Feasability Study: $1.9MM
- Center on Vision Loss: $500K
- Baylor Solid-Organ Transplant Research: $2MM
- Best Buddies (disability assistance): $250K
- InfantSEE (child eyecare for Dallas Area): $450K
- SMU Anti-infectives/Virological Research: $3.1MM
- UT-SW Obesity, Diabetes, Metabolism Research: $3MM
- UT-SW Medical Nanotech: $4MM
- Foreign Aid: Radio Station in Madagascar: $2.51MM
- Dallas Area Light Rail Expansion: $86MM
- Dallas Woodall Rogers Deck Plaza: $1MM
- NAFTRACS (national transport corridor): $5MM
Folks, that’s a lot of bacon: $137,010,000, for this year alone. Now, some of these things may simply be best performed with federal money here — the UT/Southwest medical tech research, for instance. But why on earth should we be taking 86 million in tax money from some poor kid in Mississippi, Montana, or West Virginia, in order to fund our light rail projects?
Blatant, Shameless Pork: 2, 4,5,7,8,9,17,18.
Let’s look the other way on the Corps of Engineers project for right now: it’s been known that flood control is desperately needed in parts of the city. Similarly, while I don’t think the FedGov has squat to do with #12, my anti-federalist leanings are likely to get shouted down in a hue and cry of “think of all the poor blind babies!”
But (#17) making the rest of the country pay through the nose (86MM!) so that the City of Dallas can have better commuter-rail is pork.
And #18 is not only pork, but fatback. Blatant, shameless, larded pork. These are not distressed neighborhoods being served here. This is a million in federal money being used directly and explicitly to improve the property values of downtown developers and REITs, some of the richest folks in DFW. This is truly shameless.
If you’re looking for a guy who “brings home the bacon” at other peoples’ expense, Sessions is your guy. If you’re looking for a fiscal conservative… look elsewhere.