Taxes & Spending

Rip-Off of the Week: Taxpayers Get Less; Industry Get More

Pork projects have perhaps hit an all-time low. Under the guise of distributing Homeland Security money to the more “at-risk” cities, Rhode Island’s homeland security funding is dwindling because of new federal distribution rules as recently reported in the Providence Journal. In 2004 Rhode Island received $21.3 million, in 2005 that number fell to $16 million and in 2006 it could drop to $2 million.

While high-risk community allocation sounds logical, under closer examination what some of it translates to is, “Where can we send the pork?” — even if it means jeopardizing the safety of one state to benefit private entities. A key example as outlined by Citizens Against Government Waste, is that in fiscal 2005, Premier Yachts, Inc., a private for-profit $40 million revenue company, received $208,100 in grants for “port security.” Premier Yachts, Inc. operates “fine dining and entertainment cruises” in Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

It is reprehensible that included in the growth of Homeland Security spending are a vast array of pork projects. Even more outrageous is that while private entities get more money, Rhode Island’s emergency management programs are being cut. What it boils down to is that we get less as others get more. I’ve been told that yachting is a fine activity, but it certainly doesn’t warrant an allocation of taxpayer dollars to support the industry.


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