Friday, March 13, 2009

Barack Obama signs US budget...
legislatures find creative ways to spend it

The Oregonian --

President Barack Obama signed into law Wednesday $410 billion spending bill which is welcome news to officials in Oregon who will receive an estimated $211 million of that money which has already been earmarked for 8816 individual projects and programs.

A sampling of what Oregon has proposed to spend the "stimulus" money for to help Oregon's economy is...

• $45 million for Portland streetcars

• $3.3 million for design work on the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River

• $640,000 for OSU Klamath River Fish Disease Research

• $81.6 million for MAX light rail, south corridor along I-205

• $34.4 million to dredge and deepen the Columbia River channel to accommodate larger vessels

• The $410 billion spending bill includes $211 million from 121 earmarks for Oregon. They include:

• $300,000 city of Portland Family Justice Center

• $333,000 for PSU Science Research Teaching Center

• $14.2 million for deepening the channel and jetty repair at the mouth of the Columbia River.

• $1.4 million for ecosystem restoration for the lower Columbia River. Work will benefit salmon, steelhead and other species

• Source: Taxpayers for Common Sense; House Appropriations Committee

Even Obama complained that he was "signing an imperfect omnibus bill because it's necessary for the ongoing functions of the government." [I wonder if he's talking about Oregon?] Obama remarked during the signing ceremony, "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to WORTHY projects that BENEFIT PEOPLE in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination."

However, despite good intentions, Portland has other plans for the money. For example, Portland will spend $45 million to create a new loop for the city's streetcar system which would link the Lloyd District to the Oregon Museum of science and industry. $3.3 million for continued work on a new Columbia River Crossing on Interstate 5 and $333,000 to the Portland State University science research teaching center.

Oh yes, and the benefit people part...$370,000 will go to help Portland "cope" with homeless and low income veterans.

Portland is not the only state entity to have their fingers in the pot... two senators wrote a $475,000 provision that will allow a truck climbing lane to be built on Interstate 84 near a three-mile hill, and $380,600 to investigate the possibility of geothermal power and wind generating facility at an old military facility in Christmas Valley.

what can I say? it kind of speaks for itself {sigh}.


Blogger Bobkatt said...

I'm not that great at math but it seems to me that not only is the country getting screwed by this spending bill but Oregon is really getting the shaft. There's about 300 million Americans right? And there is about 3 million Oregonians right? That makes us about 1 % of the total population right? If you take 1 % of $410 billion dollars you get $410 million. But we are to receive $211 million. Actually there are about 3.7 million Oregonians but who's counting. I guess we don't need it as bad as other states-oh well.

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bobkatt: If you take 1 % of $410 billion dollars you get $410 million.

Actually if you take 1% of 410 billion dollars you get $4.1 billion

That's not the right number to be starting with though. The total value of earmarks in the appropriations bill is $12.8 billion. Oregon has about 1.25% of the total population. If you were to allocation the earmarks based on population Oregon would get $160 million (1.25% of $12.8 billion). So the $211 million that Oregon is getting might be a little high but we are not "getting the shaft".

7:33 AM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

Thanks for the math lesson. I thought the numbers I came up with didn't look right. But where did you get the earmark figure? According to the U. S. News and World Report, "A whopping $144 billion from the bill is flowing directly to state and local governments." It will be interesting to see what percentage of that we end up with.

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the numbers from Taxpayers for Common Sense. This is one of the sources for the Oregonian article Robin quotes from in her blog entry. They provide a spreadsheet that gives an overview of the earmarks in the $410 billion budget bill that we have been discussing. Here's a direct link to the spreadsheet: . I'm not sure how reliable that link is. This morning it was not working but now it is.

The U.S.News & World Report article that you link to is talking about the $787 billion stimulus package which Obama approved earlier this year. That's a different bill.

I believe that the reason that the stimulus package spending money is not included in the budget bill is that the budget bill is for the remainder of the 2009 fiscal year but the money in the stimulus bill is considered to be money spent when the stimulus package became law ( though I'm not totally sure if that reasoning is right ).

12:40 PM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

OK I give up. I'm totally confused.

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry.... here it is in (hopefully) clearer terms:

Bobkatt: But where did you get the earmark figure?
I got the earmark figure from Taxpayers for Common Sense, just like the Oregonian article that started this discussion.

Bobkatt: According to the U. S. News and World Report, "A whopping $144 billion from the bill is flowing directly to state and local governments."
The U.S. News and World Report is talking about a completely different bill.

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