Taxpayer Rip-Off of the Week: $600,000 for Wis. Babcock Institute

Taxpayers across America might like to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are funding the Great Milk, Great Markets conference this Monday and Tuesday. The new conference, hosted by Wisconsin’s Babcock Institute, will focus on providing dairy producers and processors of high-quality milk with innovative ideas “to realize the economic benefits of a high-quality production model.”

And those who miss tomorrow’s conference will be please to know that they can still get their money’s worth at the 9th annual international dairy short course taking place October 1 – October 4, 2006 in Madison, WI. The course offers “more educational experiences than ever before with integrated farm visits, increased workshop selection, and a broad range of dairy-related lectures.” Unfortunately, taxpayers will have to fork over an additional $550 registration fee.

Over the past three years, American taxpayers have donated over $1.7 million to the Babcock Institute in Wisconsin, including $600,000 from this year’s Agriculture Appropriations Act (H.R. 2744). According to its website, the Babcock Institute was founded in 1991 in order to act as “a crossroads for international dairy activities at the University of Wisconsin.” Its mission is “to lay the foundation for mutually beneficial ties between the U.S. dairy industry and the rest of the world.”

Wisconsin may be addicted to milk, but Congress is addicted to pork for milk. The dairy industry receives millions in subsidies each year, and Wisconsin is the lucky beneficiary of a lot of that money. This kind of favoritism for special pet industries has got to stop. Whether it is the dairy industry, or the sugar industry, or the oil and gas industry, Congress must stop spending taxpayer dollars like their own personal checkbooks.

Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on Wisconsin’s Babcock Institute (Senate Roll Call Vote #282) on November 3, 2005.