By Tom McAuliffe www.grassrootinstitute.org
HONOLULU, HAWAII - Hawaii taxpayers recently paid almost $3,000 for a state employee to travel to Los Angeles for the Grammy Music Awards, according to a new report from The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH) and premiere taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).
LINK: GRIH 2009 pork report
In the midst of a significant state budget shortfall, the 2009 Hawaii Pork Report reveals that bureaucrats continue to spend taxpayer dollars in questionable ways. The exposé, which is the first of its kind in the state, reveals egregious waste, abuse and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars—and gives concrete examples of overspending to policymakers looking to trim fat from state and local budgets.
Some examples of frivolous spending that are sure to raise the ire of hard-working citizens include:
· $2,829.91 for a state employee to travel to California for the Grammy Awards;
· $875,000 to reconstruct a hiking trail that is now barred from public access at a cost of an additional $50,000 a year;
· $130,000 to an artist for ceramic tiles adorning water coolers at the Hawaii Convention Center; and
· $2,400,000 for substitute custodians in public schools.
Pearl Hahn, GRIH policy analyst and lead author of the report, remarked, “The only thing more shocking than the sheer amount of waste is the degree to which government officials will go to hide that waste. This report gives dozens of examples of abuse of taxpayer dollars—but there are hundreds, if not thousands, more examples waiting to be found.”
"The 2009 Hawaii Pork Report is the first step in bringing fiscal sanity to the Aloha State," said David Williams, Vice-President for Policy at CAGW in Washington, D.C. "With an economic downturn it's important for government to get rid of unnecessary and ridiculous programs and evaluate those essential programs making government more efficient. Before taxpayers are asked for one more dime of their hard earned money, state and local governments need to rebuild the trust they've lost," he said. "Establishing a website with state and local government expenditures and creating a state Grace Commission to go through every nook and cranny in the budget would help fix that broken trust."