Friday’s Lincoln Tribune ran my piece about this year’s earmark request list from the North Carolina General Assembly.
Behind the political rhetoric about “draconian cuts” to spending and claims of severe belt-tightening, however, is a list of more than $650 million in earmark spending requests – many of which will leave observers scratching their heads.
Consider these requests the “wish list” for our General Assembly.
Some of the more questionable of these spending requests include: $1.7 million to purchase land and begin planning for construction of a research complex at UNC A&T that resembles the Star Fleet Training Academy from the Star Trek movie; half a million dollars for a John Coltraine Music Hall in High Point; $200,000 for researching the remains of Blackbeard’s pirate ship; $150,000 for the construction and operation of an “environmentally friendly” welcome center in Wilkes County; $25,000 for an outdoor drama entitled “Horn in the West,” and many others.
The wish list of our elected politicians underscores a profound disconnect between the political class and average citizens. At a time when North Carolina families are struggling to find work and put food on their tables, our elected leaders desire to spend your tax dollars to finance such items as an outdoor drama, a sunken pirate ship and a star fleet academy.
For a comprehensive listing of this year’s wish list, click here.