The Weird, the Woke, the Wasteful: 10 Flavors of Pork for 10 States Bringing Home the Bacon

COMMENTARY Budget and Spending

The Weird, the Woke, the Wasteful: 10 Flavors of Pork for 10 States Bringing Home the Bacon

Jan 5, 2023 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Preston Brashers

Senior Policy Analyst, Tax Policy

Preston is a senior policy analyst for tax policy in The Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks at a press conference following a Senate vote on the omnibus on December 22, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

You can learn about a congressman by seeing how he spends everyone else’s money.

The complicity of some GOP senators in the latest budget negotiations shows—yet again—that some legislators on both sides are willing to blow out spending.

There’s nothing funny about a $7,400 inflation tax, America’s $31.3 trillion of debt, and two parties in Congress that refuse to address that debt.  

You can learn a lot about a man by seeing how he spends his money. You can learn about a congressman by seeing how he spends everyone else’s money.

Congress is—yet again—preparing to spend nearly $2 trillion of taxpayers’ dollars in a massive omnibus spending bill.

Some in Congress are reluctant to keep overspending taxpayer dollars, but the complicity of some GOP senators in the latest budget negotiations shows—yet again—that some legislators on both sides are willing to blow out spending while paying lip service to fiscal restraint.

Appropriators have thrown in thousands upon thousands of pet projects across the country to help entice members of Congress to vote for the massive budget.

Here is a small sampling of the pork that soon may be coming to 10 states if Congress passes this spending bill.

New York Pork: Hip Hop, LGBTQ+ Causes, Social Justice

  • $5 million to the Universal Hip Hop Museum.
  • $3 million to the New York Historical Society for a partnership project with the American LGBTQ+ Museum.
  • $1.5 million for a LGBTQ+ Community Center Project.
  • $1 million to Black Veterans for Social Justice Inc.
  • $856,000 to the LGBT Center for facilities and equipment.
  • $750,000 for services for LGBT and the “gender nonconforming” in Albany.
  • $750,000 for a building for the Brooklyn Center for Social Justice, Entrepreneurship, and the Arts.

Massachusetts Pork: Pillow Dancing, Woke Arts and Businesses

  • $956,000 for The Equity Incubator at the Universities at Shady Grove.
  • $465,000 for Biomes Around the World at the Springfield Museum.
  • $400,000 for the PowerUp Latinx Business Initiative.
  • $100,000 for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival for Arts Education.

Hawaii Pork: “Shoreline Equity,” Fish Collections

  • $2.25 million for “shoreline equity.”
  • $250,000 for relocation of the Bishop Museum’s ichthyology collection.

Illinois Pork: Destroying Buildings, Charging Buses, Qualifying Justice

  • $500,000 for downtown building demolitions in Astoria (population 1,100).
  • $6.7 million for Illinois Electric Bus and Charging Infrastructure.
  • $2.9 million for a zero-emissions bus fleet.
  • $625,000 for a minority-owned business dashboard.
  • $2 million for a community-driven air quality and environmental justice assessment.

Maryland Pork: Oysters, History, Equitable AI

  • $960,000 for oyster research to enhance resilience.
  • $185,000 for oyster restoration in the St. Mary’s River Shellfish Sanctuary.
  • $2 million for the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum.
  • $400,000 for the Historic Catoctin Furnace Ironworker House.
  • $2 million for equitable artificial intelligence.

Missouri Pork: Animated and Proud

  • $2 million to Thank You Walt Disney Inc. for the Kansas City Institute for Media Animation Graphic Innovation and Education.
  • $400,000 for Pride Haven.

Connecticut Pork: Kelp and Trolleys

  • $2.4 million for the Connecticut Kelp Innovation Center.
  • $750,000 for Connecticut Trolley Museum upgrades.

California: Street Dining, Neighborhood Equity, Equitable Energy

  • $1.5 million for the Pasadena On-Street Dining Project.
  • $300,000 for the Sacramento Neighborhood Equity Initiative.
  • $750,000 for a Center for Health and Social Justice.
  • $1.5 million for public charging infrastructure for battery electric semitrucks.
  • $3.57 million for San Fernando Gardens’ “Adapting to Climate Change” project.
  • $2.75 million to Marin Clean energy for “healthy homes” and electric vehicle chargers.
  • $750,000 for a new roof and solar energy system for Sunnyvale Community Services.
  • $750,000 to the city of San Diego for mobile, solar-powered electric vehicle chargers.
  • $791,000 to Sonoma County for “equitable” energy resilience and electric vehicle infrastructure.

Pennsylvania: More Identity-Based Pork

  • $443,000 for a racial justice improvement project.
  • $113,000 for the LGBT Center of Greater Reading.
  • $105,000 for an LGBTQ+ youth program.

Maine Pork: Blueberries and 3D-Printed Housing

  • $3 million for research on wild blueberry production for changing markets and climates.
  • $3 million for 3D-printed affordable housing using forest-derived materials.

Honorable Mentions

  • A huge $100 million Woolsey Finnell Bridge project in Alabama, home state of the chief GOP appropriator.
  • $6.8 million for Real Estate Strategy to Obtain Racial Equity Property Acquisition (Delaware).
  • $3.6 million for a Michelle Obama trail project (Georgia).
  • $4 million for soy-enabled rural road reconstruction (Iowa).
  • $13.5 million for the city of Russell, Kansas, to “Pave the Way to a Sustainable Future” (Kansas).
  • $100,000 for eelgrass education (New Hampshire).
  • $385,000 for an “inclusive” playground (New Jersey).
  • $575,000 thousand for a mobile buffalo meat processing unit (New Mexico).
  • $4 million for the John R. Lewis Center for Social Justice Race Relations Building (Tennessee).
  • $750,000 for Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (Texas).
  • $2.35 million for the Leahy Center in Lake Champlain, Vermont, requested by—you guessed it—Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

This is, sadly, just scratching the surface of the waste in the latest massive federal budget.

Many of these wasteful provisions are humorous, but there’s nothing funny about a $7,400 inflation tax, America’s $31.3 trillion of debt, and two parties in Congress that refuse to address that debt.  

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal on December 21, 2022