Finding the Pork in the Obama Stimulus Bill

Is Obama's stimulus overflowing with special-interest projects?

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5) Mystery Meat. It's hard to know just how much pork there is in the stimulus package for one simple reason: We still don't know how exactly a huge chunk of it will be spent. A whopping $144 billion from the bill is flowing directly to state and local governments. That means the true amount of pork will depend on the priorities of your governors, legislatures, and mayors. The best guesses for what this money will be spent on might be in a list of "ready-to-go" projects released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January, dubbed the "Main Street Economic Recovery." Some of the most outlandish of these projects -- such as an $886,000 36-hole disc golf course in Austin, Texas -- won't be allowed to receive stimulus dollars because the bill explicitly says that none of its funds can be used for "any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool."

But a prohibition on funding toward any "stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project" was dropped from the final version of the bill. That means that many other porky projects from the U.S. Conference of Mayors report are open to get money. That includes $150 million for parking improvements at a Little League facility in Cidra, Puerto Rico, and $6 million for a "snowmaking and maintenance facility" at Spirit Mountain ski area in Duluth, Minnesota.

economic stimulus