Sunday, February 05, 2006

CAGW: New York's Senators are Porkers of the Year

CAGW Names New York’s Senators Porkers of the Year:
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today announced the final results of its online poll for the 2005 Porker of the Year. Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer (both D-N.Y.) received 45.5 percent of the vote, with Reps. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Don Young (R-Alaska) coming in a close second with 40.5 percent. The six finalists were chosen by CAGW staff from among the 12 Porker of the Month winners for 2005.

Sens. Clinton and Schumer were selected as February Co-Porkers of the Month for pledging to fight President Bush’s reforms of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The President’s budget request for fiscal 2006 proposed merging the $4.7 billion program with 17 other economic development programs with total funding of $3.7 billion. The Bush plan would have required cities to submit their proposals in advance and compete for funds. Sen. Schumer called the plan a “meat axe approach” to reducing the deficit and Sen. Clinton called the program a “lifeline” for New York.

The administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool categorized the CDBG program as “ineffective,” citing an “unclear purpose, loose targeting requirements, and lack of results.” Localities have wide latitude in using the grants and Congress does a poor job of tracking where the money is spent. Beneficiaries of CDBGs are often served by other state, local, for profit, and nonprofit programs. CDBGs can also drive local stores and real estate investors out of business. Past grants in New York have included $25,000 for construction of the Music Conservatory of Westchester (one of the wealthiest counties in the nation) and $500,000 for “streetscape improvements,” also in Westchester. In the fall of 2004, the Buffalo News reported that Buffalo squandered much of the block grant money it had received over the past 30 years.

Sen. Schumer even made the absurd contention that federal handouts are the engine of New York’s economy. The real issues in New York are the negative economic impact of the highest tax burden of any state and the rent control laws that cause landlords to neglect capital improvements and abandon property. Unfortunately for taxpayers, Congress failed to enact the President’s CDBG reforms for fiscal 2006...


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