Friday, February 22, 2008

What Is An Earmark? If You Pay Taxes, You Need To Know

Do you know where your tax dollars are going? How about to build 10 multi-million-dollar military cargo planes that the Pentagon hasn't asked for? What about to fund the "Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree" in Spruce Pine, North Carolina?

These congressional pet projects, sometimes referred to as pork-barrel spending, are these days more commonly called earmarks. They are provisions inserted into bills that allocate funds directly to colleges, local agencies, or private businesses, without public hearing or oversight.

And since so many recent scandals and ethics inquiries have surfaced that revolve around congressional favors and earmarks, watchdog groups have been reading the fine print and publishing