Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is out with his annual “Wastebook,” a year-end compilation of government largess gone wrong, and New York is well-represented.
Not in the top tier, mind you. Those spots belong to a monkey house in Dayton, Ohio, which the Department of Veteran’s Affair maintains even though it sits unused; the Neon Boneyard Park and Museum in Las Vegas, which houses a collection of discarded neon signs; and the Grateful Dead archive at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which cost taxpayers $615,000 to digitize the band’s tickets, photographs, backstage passes, and the like.
But New York is doing pretty well for itself. Among the palaces of pork that Coburn points to include Poets House, which received a $1 million grant to add signs with lines of poetry around zoos in the United States (sadly, none of New York’s zoos get the verse); the State University of New York system, which received $2.6 million to train legislators in Eastern Europe; a carousel museum in North Towanda; The New York Wine and Grape Foundation, which received money to promote local spirits abroad; and a $168,000 grant to Columbia University to study the mating habits of Wild Blue Monkeys.
Says Coburn, “As you look at these examples, ask yourself: at a time when we are borrowing over $44,000 for every person in the country, are these items a priority and are they a federal responsibility? Many taxpayers will no doubt agree that the wasteful spending uncovered in this report is not what they had in mind when they filed their taxes in April. Few will find that they represent the best our government has to offer. During these difficult times when families are struggling to make ends meet, the federal government can best assist hard working Americans by keeping their taxes low and not burdening them with higher debt.”
Full report below: