When I drove up to Northern Minnesota and back I noticed signs saying that certain projects were funded under the ARRA (stimulus funds).  I then wondered how much was spent on the signs saying such.  I know it is a drop in the bucket, but every drop costs taxpayers money.

Lisa Grass emailed a link to a new website that shines the light on government spending – http://sunshine.gop.gov.  Looking specifically at Iowa here are some interesting projects.

Stimulus Projects:

Earmarks:

Full disclosure, I’m not in favor of earmarks period.  Ask for the funding as part of a public budget and do it in a transparent way.  Don’t tack it onto unrelated bills.  Some earmarks seem to be for worthy projects, others not so much.  Again my biggest beef is with the process.  This year members who chose to submit earmark requests to the Appropriations Committee were compelled to disclose those requests on their office website.  This provides earmark requests from members of the House of Representatives.  Here are few highlights from my U.S. Representative, Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA 3).

  • $2,100,000 for a pedestrian overpass at Grandview University in Des Moines.  This project is close to my office.  This would be so college students could go over E. 14th St. safely.  To my knowledge no college student has been hit by a car there.  How about crosswalks and pedestrian-initiated stoplights, and reminding students and others to look both ways?
  • $1,400,000 for a five mile trail linking Middle Amana to South Amana as part of the Amana Colonies Recreational Trail System.  Boswell says “this funding is a good use of taxpayer funds.”  Is it?  I like recreational trails, but again… the process.
  • Congressman Boswell likes providing money for studies – $1,000,000, $900,000, $150,000, and $100,000.
  • $546,152 for laboratory equipment for William Penn University in order to aide “under served students in science and technology.”
  • $258,103 for Creative Visions.  Creative Visions (they work with high-risk youth, gang-involved youth in particular)  is lead by Democrat State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad… interesting.  I’m not saying that they don’t do good work, but they should apply for competitive federal grants.  These types of earmarks give the appearance of political back scratching and should not be tolerated.

Also if you were curious about who benefited from the bailout money.  Here is a list of the financial institutions that received TARP money in Iowa.

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