The 2006 Congressional Pig Book is the latest installment of Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) 16-year exposé of pork-barrel spending. This year’s list includes: $13,500,000 for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit; $6,435,000 for wood utilization research; $1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative; and $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C.
This year, there was good news and bad news. For fiscal 2006, appropriators stuffed 9,963 projects into the 11 appropriations bills, a 29 percent decrease over last year’s total of 13,997. Despite the reduction in the number of earmarks, Congress porked out at record dollar levels with $29 billion in pork for 2006, or 6.2 percent more than last year’s total of $27.3 billion. In fact, the total cost of pork has increased by 29 percent since fiscal 2003. Total pork identified by CAGW since 1991 adds up to $241 billion.
Even though Alaska led the nation with $489 per capita ($325 million), it was less than half of Alaska’s 2005 per capita number of $985. The runners up in 2006 were Hawaii with $378 per capita ($482 million) and the District of Columbia with $182 per capita ($100 million). Alaska’s drop can be attributed to Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-Alaska) descent from the throne as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman.