The McAllen Monitor reported that the new $150 billion House budget for the 2008-09 biennium includes some arguably pork barrel expenditures – most of those mentioned are earmarks for projects in the Rio Grande Valley. Among the taxpayer-funded projects mentioned are:
*At least $600,000 for the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville
*$1 million to complete necessary funds for the Tejano monument planned for the Capitol grounds
*$2 million to develop a park and planetarium in McAllen.
*$750,000 to complete Will Looney Legacy Park in downtown Edinburg, next to the Museum of South Texas History
*$800,000 for a new park in Rio Grande City
Don't get us wrong – parks, zoos, and planetariums may well be very worthwhile civic amenities, but these are traditionally local government expenditures or non-profit projects. Why should state taxpayers subsidize projects like these hundreds of miles away while similar projects near them are paid for with their local tax dollars or charitable donations, not state money?
These kinds of earmarks have rightfully earned a bad name in Washington. Texas lawmakers must preserve Texas' tradition of being low-tax, low-spending state and not succumb to the tax-and-spend addiction that has a grip on Congress.