The Mayors’ Stocking Stuffers | Citizens Against Government Waste

The Mayors’ Stocking Stuffers

The WasteWatcher

In anticipation of the rapid passage of a $1 trillion stimulus package as soon as President-elect Obama and the new Congress take office in January, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released its wish-list of what it called “shovel-ready” projects that the Conference claims can be completed in 2009 and 2010 and will create 847,000 new jobs.  With taxpayers already experiencing the worst holiday season in years, this is another big lump of coal in their stockings.

The mayors’ list contains 11,391 projects that would cost more than $73 billion.  While there are quite a few of the usual road, bridge, and airport “infrastructure” projects, the mayors, apparently in a downright festive mood, also threw in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of low-priority, local items:  $30 million for 16 projects to build tennis courts; $718 million for 54 projects directed to museums; $193 million for 12 projects directed to stadiums, including $150 million for the Metromover Extension to Marlins Stadium in Miami, Florida; $110 million for 34 projects related to the construction, renovation or retrofitting of golf courses; $87 million for 56 projects for bicycle paths; $10 million for seaside lagoon rehabilitation in Redondo Beach, California; $6 million for a reclamation project at Surfers Point beach in Ventura, California; $5 million for renovations to the Robin Hood Dell East Outdoor Music Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; $6 million to heat a swimming pool in Maui, Hawaii; and $1,500,000 for an initiative to eliminate prostitution in Dayton, Ohio.

Clearly, the mayors have been inspired by the biggest porkers in the nation:  members of Congress, whose egregious earmarks are exposed each year in Citizens Against Government Waste’s annual Congressional Pig Book.  Watch for many of the outrageous items on the mayors’ list to wind up in the stimulus package, the upcoming 2010 appropriations bills, and the 2009 Congressional Pig Book.

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