I wrote another blog post on Big Government about a Massachusetts politician. The title of the post is, "Please Sir, May I Have Some More? John Olver (MA-1), Earmark King."
John Olver (MA-1) has the delegation’s worst record when it comes to wasteful earmarks. He directed $2,752,000 for special projects in his district between 2005 and 2006 alone. According to The Boston Globe, Olver OKed more than $34.7 million in earmarks in that last budgeting cycle. What was the money spent on?
The Boston Globe reported just some of his earmarks, August 7, 2007:
Olver’s earmarks include $6 million for improvements to the Fitchburg-to-Boston rail line; $1 million for downtown streetscapes in Pittsfield; $150,000 for repairs to the William Cullen Bryant homestead, a national historic landmark, in Cummington; $275,000 to renovate the Berkshire Music Hall; and $1.5 million for the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge. Each of these expenditures is important to somebody.
Oh, but that’s not all. Olver spent some $45,000 in taxpayer dollars on mailings to his constituents, through franking, bragging about his “successes”. The Boston Herald reports:
Olver, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, sent out one newsletter with a two-page glossy map of his district showing about 30 projects the panel funded “at my request.”
The map noted $3.5 million in federal earmarked funds for Pioneer Valley bike paths, $13.4 million for Route 2 safety improvements and $8.8 million for the Pittsfield Intermodal Transportation Center.
Whether or not these earmarks generate jobs or cause instability for much needed projects as people look to goverment, not business to provide investment, is another question as his district has been hit hard by the recession, with few jobs to show for his support of the so-called stimulus bill. If Olver were to be defeated, his twenty-two staffers would have to find other work. (The national average for congressmen is only 14.) The current bill for their salaries? Some $904,000 a year!