The federal omnibus spending bill introduced earlier this week has now been abandoned. That’s good, because even with all the talk about earmark reform, this bill was loaded. Based on a database compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, I’ve compiled a list of earmarks requested for Kansas. These are requested, not passed, and their future status is unknown.
The list is presented below. It’s illuminating to experience the breadth of earmark requests made and their justifications.
Here’s an example of just how out of control these requests can become. A request by Senator Sam Brownback, who is soon to become Governor of Kansas, is titled “75th Street Utility Undergrounding.” It asks for $4,500,000 to convert overhead utility wires to underground on a 2.9 mile section of a major arterial street in Prairie Village, in Johnson County.
I suppose that most cities have streets where it would be desirable to replace overhead utilities with underground. There are many advantages, not to mention aesthetic appeal. But why should one suburban Kansas City town be singled out from all others for this special treatment?
According to an analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense, Brownback has requested, either by himself or with another member of Congress, 61 earmarks with a cost of $125,552,000. That ranked 29th among senators.