When Porky Piggies Attack!

For New Mexicans, the release of 2017’s “Congressional Pig Book” is good news, bad news.

Citizens Against Government Waste‘s annual look at revenue devoted to “a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures” drives taxpayers batty, but there aren’t any specific examples of New Mexico-based fiscal atrocities.

That said, many national-level expenditures bring pork to the Land of Enchantment, including:

* $10,374,000 for the Heritage Partnership Program, which includes New Mexico’s Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area. Even President Obama’s budgets endorsed cutting the program, and the Trump administration has noted that there is no “systematic process for designating Heritage Partnership Areas or determining their effectiveness.”

* $10,000,000 for grants by the Rural Utilities Service, the successor agency to the New Deal’s Rural Electrification Administration. “Rather than declaring victory and shutting down the REA,” CAGW writes, “the agency was transformed into the RUS, and expanded into other areas.”

* $30,000,000 for the Starbase Youth Program, which “teaches science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to at-risk youth in multiple locations at or near military bases around the country.” In 2012, congressional auditors “found that $3 billion was spent in FY 2010 across 13 agencies for 209 STEM programs, 83 percent of which overlapped with at least one other program.”

Read the whole report here. It’s powerful evidence that stuck-on-stupid federal spending remains on autopilot, and that a serious fiscal reckoning is coming — one that will be very painful for states that are heavily dependent on Washington for their fiscal and economic health.

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