The online dictionary defines “pork barrel” spending as “a government appropriation, bill, or policy that supplies funds for local improvements designed to ingratiate legislators with their constituents.”
This week’s Bad Bill of the Week certainly meets that definition. Senate Bill 862 Wayne Regional Research & Education Agricultural Center Funds, sponsored by Sens. Don Davis (D-Wayne) and Louis Pate (R-Wayne), would appropriate $3 million in state taxpayer funds for a local facility.
In a classic case of politicians wanting to “bring home the bacon,” this bill would direct state taxpayer dollars to help pay for the design and construction of a “proposed 60,000-square-foot ‘Green Facility,’” that is estimated to cost more than $11 million. Local governments and the Golden LEAF foundation are also slated to help fund the facility that would ultimately be owned by Wayne County.
So in this case, state taxpayers would be funding a portion of a local facility that would be owned by a local government. And the facility would just happen to be located in the home district of the two primary sponsors of the bill.
How this could be construed as anything other than pork spending, given it uses state tax dollars to fund a project with the word “regional” in its name, defies explanation.
Because it would direct millions in state taxpayer dollars to a local pork project, SB 862 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.