Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 130)

Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below:

Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

On May 11, 2011,  I emailed to this above address and I got this email back from Senator Pryor’s office:

Please note, this is not a monitored email account. Due to the sheer volume of correspondence I receive, I ask that constituents please contact me via my website with any responses or additional concerns. If you would like a specific reply to your message, please visit http://pryor.senate.gov/contact. This system ensures that I will continue to keep Arkansas First by allowing me to better organize the thousands of emails I get from Arkansans each week and ensuring that I have all the information I need to respond to your particular communication in timely manner.  I appreciate you writing. I always welcome your input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any issue of concern to you in the future.

Here are a few more I just emailed to him myself:

GUIDELINE #2: Turn local programs back to the states.
Only the federal government can handle national defense, international relations, and the administration of federal laws. But why should politicians in Washington decide which roads are built in Appleton, Wisconsin? Or which community development projects are funded in St. Louis, Missouri? Or how education dollars are spent in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
The federal government taxes families, subtracts a hefty administrative cost, and then sends the remaining tax revenues back to the state and local governmentswith specific rules dictating how they may and may not spend the money. In that sense, the federal government is merely an expensive middleman, contributing little more than meddling mandates that constrain the flexibility that state and local governments need to address their own issues creatively.
No distant bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., can know which policies are best for every state and locality. One-size-fits-all federal mandates rarely succeed as well as flexible programs designed by state and local officials who are closer to the people affected. Moreover, legislators have little incentive to design programs that work beyond their home constituencies.
State and local governments, which often consider federal grants “free money,” also lack sufficient incentives to spend this money well because they did not have to extract the taxes themselves. (Many seem to forget the high federal taxes that local residents paid for this “free money.”) Consequently, local officials rarely object to federal grants for unnecessary projects.
Few local governments, for example, would consider taxing their own residents to fund the following pork-barrel projects found in the 2004 federal budget:2
  • $725,000 for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
  • $200,000 for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio;
  • $150,000 for a single traffic light in Briarcliff Manor, New York;
  • $100,000 for the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee;
  • $500,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute; and
  • $50 million to construct an indoor rainforest in Coralville, Iowa.
The federal government can promote accountability, flexibility, and local control by eliminating many of the mandates on how state and local governments address their own issues and letting them raise their own revenues and create their own programs without meddling Washington bureaucrats and politicians. Specifically, Congress should:
  • Turn back the federal gas tax, as well as all federal highway and mass transit spending, to the states (2004 spending: $37 billion, discretionary);3
  • Devolve federal housing programs to state and local governments and cut federal strings on how the programs are operated ($31 billion, discretionary);
  • Send job training programs back to the states ($5,600 million, discretionary);
  • Transfer economic development programs (e.g., Community Development Block Grants, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Denali Commission, and the Tennessee Valley Authority) back to the regions that best know how to address their local economies ($5,952 million, discretionary);
  • Devolve Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers projects to state and regional authorities ($5,614 million, discretionary);
  • Allow states flexibility and control over their own education programs;
  • Send the Superfund program to the states and allow local flexibility in deciding how to clean contaminated sites ($1,108 million, discretionary);
  • Turn back law enforcement grant programs to the states ($3,041 million, discretionary);
  • Devolve the Natural Resources Conservation Service to the states ($3,046 million, discretionary);
  • Transfer the Institute of Museum Services and Library Sciences to the states ($262 million, discretionary);
  • Devolve Youth Opportunity Grants to local governments ($40 million, discretionary);
  • Send the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation to the cities it affects ($114 million, discretionary); and
  • Eliminate the practice of earmarking federal funds for local projects.
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