• VT Pork for Katrina victims
    Frank LoPinto | September 19,2005
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    The President has vowed to help the victims of hurricane Katrina while at the same time not raising taxes.

    Faced with restive conservatives calling Katrina relief a $200-billion budget-buster, President George W. Bush on Friday ruled out raising taxes and pledged budget cuts to cover some of the tab.

    President Clinton disagrees with this approach.

    Former President Clinton believes the Democrats should pounce on and exploit President Bush's refusal to hike taxes to finance Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Now I'm willing to concede that taxes may have to be raised to deal with the devastation that Katrina has wrought. But I am unwilling to simply assume that taxes must be raised. We need to take a look at the budget and see what could be cut first, then perhaps, make up the difference with taxes.

    Now I am aware that House Leader Tom Delay has declared the Federal budget is devoid of fat. According to him, the budget is as lean as it can get.

    I'm skeptical.

    What would happen if each State gave up some of its pork and contributed it to a Federal Katrina relief fund? Well, it just so happens that the Blogosphere is mounting just such a campaign.

    Led by Instapundit and The Truth Laid Bare, Glenn Reynolds presents the strategy

    How are we going to mobilize the blogosphere in support of cuts in wasteful spending to support Katrina relief? Here's the plan.

    Identify some wasteful spending in your state or (even better) Congressional District.  Put up a blog post on it. Go to N.Z. Bear's new PorkBusters page and list the pork, and add a link to your post.

    So far, bloggers have identified over $13 billion dollars in pork that can be contributed by the states to the Katrina relief effort.

    How can the state of Vermont help? Well, lets see...

    I suggest that Vermont donate the following projects from the recently passed Transportation Bill:

    • Construction and rehabilitation of the Cross Vermont Trail for the Cross Vermont Trail Association: A foot and bike trail. Contribution: $1,108,800

    • Construction of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail for the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers: A snowmobile trail. Contribution: $5,814,789

    • Vermont Statewide Rural Advanced Traveller System and Fiber Construction. Contribution: $10,000,000

    • Church Street Improvements in Burlington. Contribution: $6,000,000

    • Burlington Waterfront Transportation Improvements. Contribution: $3,500,000

    • Essex Junction Downtown Transportation Improvements. Contribution: $1,000,000

    • Design and Construction of Montpelier Downtown Redevelopment Project. Contribution: $4,000,000

    • Design and Construction of the Bennington Welcome Center. Contribution: $6,500,000

    • Rehabilitation of Hartford Northbound and Southbound rest areas. Contribution: $6,500,000

    • Property acquisition and improvements for public access and viewshed protection for the Cedar Creek Vermont monument at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in Virginia. Contribution: $2,000,000

    • Design and construction of the South Burlington City Center project. Contribution: $5,000,000

    • Improvements to the Green Mountain Rail Line between Rutland and Bellows Falls. Contribution: $2,500,000

    • New England Transportation Institute for rural transportation research. Contribution: $1,000,000

    All that for a grand total of $54,023,589

    Not bad for a small state and that's just from the Highway Bill.

    Any Vermonters out there got any other pork we can contribute?
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