Illinois Earmarks

I admit it, Mr Obama has not requested earmarks for quite some time. Senator McCain does not utilize earmarks either. I commend each for that step towards fiscal responsibility. (Not easy living in Alaska)

But a simple statement on earmarks may warrant fact checking, so I did some research.

As many know, Mr Obama has been on the campaign trail since Feb 07. He has not had the time available to participate fully in US Senate activities. However, why does he not take Illinois Senator Durbin-D to terms on his earmark record for the state he represents? With several states, it appears the senior senator takes the heat for requesting all the earmark funds. Research and data available at “Taxpayers For Common Sense” reveal who is requesting what.

For the 2008 Seante earmarks posted by Common Sense, my tally by states for the primary candidates reflect the following:

Alaska – $ 664 Million (2009 will be significantly less based on postings at Senator Stevens website)Arizona – $ 388 MillionDelaware – $ 196 MillionIllinois – $ 723 Million

But, don’t play journalist and just jump on the numbers. Research and checking should accompany numbers. Many earmarks may be additional spending for legitimate projects. I know many in Alaska are for ongoing mandated federal projects (examples are maintaining ocean fishery stocks and treaty compliance with Canada and studies required under the Marine Mammals Protection Act and other services the State of Alaska is mandated to manage for the federal government). Also, many earmarks for the states may include river and harbor maintenance, Corps of Engineer projects, maintaining military bases, community health services, etc.

A metaphor for responsible earmarks is like a family’s budget. Expenses are budgeted but some additional expenses arise like car repairs beyond regular maintenance. The refigerator or furnace dies and need replaced. Or family illness and the co-pays exceed a budgeted amount.

Alaska and our distinguished Governor are working on reducing our earmarks and “pork” projects. But what is Illinois actually doing? Maybe Mr Obama should visit Washington once in a while and talk with Senator Durbin.

(Based on a voting record of “present”, and a significant time of his first term on the campaign trail, Mr Obama does not deserve the title of Senator from me. My apologies to the citizens of Illinois.)