Members of the Washington, D.C.-based Citizens Against Government Waste this week released their 2021 Congressional Pig Book, citing examples of what they call government waste, including waste that affects Georgia.
The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW’s annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget.
One portion of the report covers agriculture and cites how federal officials allotted $9 million of Fiscal Year 2021’s budget to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).
Congress created the ARC in 1965 to, according to the CAGW, “bring the 13 Appalachian states into the mainstream of the American economy.” The program covers all of West Virginia along with portions of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
“The ARC duplicates dozens of federal, state, and local programs,” the CAGW report said.
The CAGW report said that “members of Congress have long used the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to feed at the trough, and their appetite grew in FY 2021.”
“The number of earmarks increased by 27.3 percent, from 11 in FY 2020 to 14 in FY 2021, and the cost went up by 18.7 percent, from $81.7 million in FY 2020 to $97 million in FY 2021,” the CAGW report said.
The Delta Regional Authority, according to its website, caters to Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee for economic development reasons.
“The ARC has received 14 earmarks costing $413.8 million since FY 1995, and the DRA has received 18 earmarks costing $177.9 million since FY 2003,” according to the CAGW report.
The 2021 CAGW report, according to a press release, exposes 285 earmarks costing taxpayers $16.8 billion in the appropriations bills that fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2021. The CAGW press release said “these earmarks waste vital taxpayer dollars to fund parochial and non-essential pet projects.”
“The number of earmarks increased by 4 percent over the 274 earmarks in FY 2020, while the total cost increased by 5.7 percent from the $15.9 billion in FY 2020. More troublingly, the $16.8 billion is 1.8 percent higher than the $16.5 billion spent in FY 2010, the last year before the earmark moratorium. Since the first Pig Book was issued in 1991, CAGW has uncovered 111,702 earmarks costing taxpayers $392.5 billion,” the press release said.
“The release of the Pig Book during tax season, as well as two days after the announcement that the monthly budget deficit reached a near-record $660 billion in March, along with the announcement of the restoration of earmarks for the FY 2022 appropriations bills, makes the publication more timely than ever.”
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