Taxpayer Rip-Off of the Week: $70,000 for Paper Industry Hall of Fame

Quick, what do Johan Gullichsen, James Kress, and Robert Buchanan have in common? Can’t guess? I’ll tell you. They are all recent inductees into Wisconsin’s Paper Industry Hall of Fame and the lucky beneficiaries of America’s hard-earned tax dollars. They join a long list of movers and shakers in the paper industry, including Elis Olsson, a major innovator of the sulfate pulp making process and the Hall of Fame’s oldest member William Rittenhouse (1644-1708), who spearheaded the American papermaking business.

All together, the Hall of Fame’s seventy inductees have Congress to thank for the $70,000 the Hall received from the 2005 Veteran Affairs/Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill (HR 4818). Located in Appleton, Wisconsin, in the district of Representative Mark Green, the Paper Industry Hall of Fame seeks "to recognize people who have made preeminent contributions to the paper industry worldwide." Besides for exhibits on the inductees, the Hall of Fame also houses the Paper Discovery Center where visitors can learn about the making of coated paper and even make their own sheets of paper in the Purdy-Weissenborn Paper Lab.

This earmark is so outrageous, it would be laughable if pork-barrel spending wasn’t such a deep and draining problem. Unfortunately, this is not a joke; this is normal for our over-greedy politicians. This is a glimpse of what politics has become — a money-grabbing, ego-feeding, special interest bonanza — and it has got to stop.

Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on the Paper Industry Hall of Fame (Senate Roll Call Vote #215) on November 20, 2004.