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2006 Election &Virginia politics Richard Falknor on 28 Sep 2006 12:59 am

Metro Pork — the Earmark That Keeps on Taxing

ED: This posting first appeared on NoVaPolitics.

Last July 17, in one of the House of Representatives leadership’s less prescient moments, that body approved arguably the largest earmark of modern times — $1.5 billion to the management-challenged Metro transit system. This stand-alone package (HR 3496) authored by Representative Tom Davis and supported by Representative Frank Wolf, two Virginia Republicans, has a special gift for the unwary taxpayer. In Heritage’s Ron Utt’s words:

As troubling as this inequitable transfer would be, Mr. Davis’s proposal also requires that, as a condition of Metro receiving the $1.5 billion federal bailout, all communities in its service area establish a “dedicated funding source” (a euphemism for a tax increase) to match the federal subsidy.

The danger is that this succubus could be attached to a genuinely urgent Senate vehicle and slide through to the president’s desk where veto pens may still be on order, if not under construction. Mr. Davis has no shame about standing behind this measure, and, consistently, voted for greater transparency on earmarks last Thursday. Mr. Wolf, on the other hand, appparently believes that the less sunshine the better on such dark matters and voted the other way on sunshine.

Some old-line Virginia Republicans, even if not entirely comfortable with these raids on the U. S. Treasury in behalf of local outstretched hands, nonetheless object to such public scrutiny of Republican spending during an election year. What they entirely miss is that this kind of egregious spending jeopardizes the House Republican majority nationally even if such Congressional largess may go down relatively smoothly in northern Virginia.

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