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Sen. Coburn's 100 Top Wasteful Stimulus Projects Include School Spending

| 4 Comments

To counter President Obama's 100 stimulus success stories, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, has come out with his own Top 100 list—of wasteful or questionable spending.

School districts and school-related projects are not spared scrutiny, either. What education-related projects made his hit-list?

* Detroit Public Schools, getting some $530 million in stimulus funding despite a severe budget and financial mismanagement crisis. To be fair, much of the stimulus money is being doled out by existing education formulas (such as through Title I), or by new formulas (such as for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund) that Congress itself created. This one is marked No. 28 in the report.

* $10 million to be used for school lunch equipment and education technology in Oshkosh, Wisc. That's No. 35. What the report doesn't say is that Congress actually approved a $100 million line-item just for school lunch equipment. Are school districts supposed to let that money go to waste?

*$550,000 for a new skate park and tennis court and basketball renovations for Jenks Junior High School in Rhode Island. This one probably comes closest to violating Vice President Joe Biden's commandment that thou shalt not build any swimming pools with stimulus money.

* California, for not encouraging school districts to rehire employees. While this may go against the main mission of the stimulus—to save jobs and jump-start the economy—hasn't Sen. Coburn heard of the funding cliff? Even the U.S. Department of Education is warning districts against falling off that cliff. This is No. 81 in the report.

*$215,000 for new bike paths in Durango, Colo. to keep kids who walk to school from walking along the street. This is No. 98.

4 Comments

I live in Durango, Colorado, and I have to say that anymoney spent on our river trail will result in less traffic around town, less polution, and less need for imported (read not-secure) oil. The senator is tilting at windmills, he should be careful he doesn't knock one over and have it land on him.

Nice. This from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the Senator who gave us the credit card bill amendment (huh?) to allow loaded weapons in national parks:
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/05/26/deadly___guns_in_national_parks/

...and who earlier expressed "Outrage over “Right Wing Extremism” Report":
http://coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=LatestNews.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=b4ddfd8d-802a-23ad-4e5b-5aeb82d42bf2&Issue_id=

All political commentary on how funding is used will have a tendency towards criticism. A tennis court and basketball revisions, whatever such a thing is, may be a necessity to the school district that has gone unfunded until now. Safe walking paths are a growing trend and take children and adults off of public roads and out of competition with automobiles. Most school districts are traditionally underfunded, leaving many projects , such as facility improvements, on the back burner. It is normal and should be expected that any windfall funding will be used for projects that may have been put off until a later, more budget rich year

I'm sure that if one was to read all 100 items that there would be some criticism for each and every one. If we need to prioritize the needs of people first, such as lost jobs, financial help, home mortgages etc. most of the money could be put to better use up front. No-one is suggesting that these other needs are not important but just maybe not on the top of the list. I for one just like you are paying for all of this and I would rather see my money put to priority needs to help individuals. With all the money being spent what if the government allowed everyone to refinance their mortgages at a low percentage rate of maybe 4-41/2%. Would that not stimulate the economy, give people more money to spend, jobs would be needed, foreclosures would be very, very low and the economy would pick up. Local governments would have more income and these projects that Sen. Coburn has brought to the forefront would create jobs in the local communities and still be completed. Although school lunch equipment is important someone should evaluate what has to be replaced and what does not. Manage the money. Stop making excuses when an item goes against what the stimulus was created for. The author refers to California and the rehiring of their teachers. Stop the excuses and use the money if you must for what it was intended to be used for and not waste it. We are spending our children and grandchildren's futures. Our congress has not even read the entire document, voted to pass the package, use the money on wasteful projects, complain when someone challenges what it is being used for and then blames the other side for trying to hold up the process. Since the passing of the stimulus package only about 6% of the money has been spent to date but when the Congress in the majority placed it on the docket for a vote they emphatically stated that this was a top priority and needed to be passed immediately. Passed it was but priority I'm not sure of?? Don't you feel stimulated? How much of the money has passed into your pathway?? What difference has it really made?? Our banks were bailed out but most still make it so difficult for an individual to get a loan that it is not making a difference. The car companies are getting bailed out and we own some of them now? Are we going to get an owner discount?? What's next? Wall Street! The airlines! Instead of American Airlines we may have America's Airline!
Stop spinning everything that is stated from Washington and start looking at both sides of the story! I'm sure that if you do that you will find right and wrong on both sides and someplace in the middle will be the correct answer if there is one??

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