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Thread: Ten Outrageous Earmarks

  1. #1
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560

    Ten Outrageous Earmarks

    Hey, it's only $8B, AND it stimulates the economy.

    Ten Outrageous Earmarks

    December 15, 2010 11:57 A.M. By Katrina Trinko
    Tree health. Small fruit. Lentils. If those are the matters you hope Washington will devote funding to, you’re in luck: they’re all covered in the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. Here’s ten of the 6,600 earmarks Taxpayers for Common Sense identified in the bill:

    ● $40 million for a National Bio and Agro-defense facility in Kansas, requested by Sen. Sam Brownback (R., Kansas).

    ● $8 million for expanding Anchorage’s port, requested by Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) (who campaigned on her ability to bring Alaska earmarks) and Mark Begich (D).

    ● $165,000 for maple research in Vermont, to further delve into the quality and food safety of syrup and to consider how current production methods affect tree health, requested by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vermont).

    ● $1 million for arthropod damage control, requested by Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.).

    ● $21 million for Hawaii Federal Health Care system, requested by Appropriations committee chair Sen. Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii.)

    ● $2.5 million to improve pedestrian and bicycling paths in Illinois, requested by Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.)

    ● $307,000 for research on small fruits, requested by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D., Oregon), Norm Dicks (D., Wash.), Rick Larsen (D., Wash.), Kurt Schrader (D., Oregon), and David Wu (D., Oregon) and Sens. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.), Mike Crapo (R., Idaho), Jeff Merkley (D., Oregon), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), James Risch (R., Idaho), and Ron Wyden (D., Oregon).

    ● $350,000 for Cool Season Legume Research, which would fund studies on what diseases harm and what improvements could help crops such as lentils and beans, requested by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) Kent Conrad (D., N.D.), Bryon Dorgan (D., N.D.) and Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Reps. Norm Dicks (D., Wash.) and Earl Pomeroy (D., N.D.).

    ● $15 million to reduce emission-caused pollution in California, requested by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif) and Democratic Reps. Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, and Jay McNerney of California.

    ● $1 million for AFL-CIO training programs, requested by Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa).

    The total cost of earmarks in the package is estimated at $8 billion

    .

  2. #2
    Atypical is offline

    Maple Syrup

    Dr.Tim Perkins

    Hi Folks,

    Happy to explain. UVM has requested funds for the Proctor Maple Research Center to conduct research on maple sap processing. Will it help Vermont....sure. Will it help NY...sure, Ohio...yup, NH...absolutely. If you make syrup, it'll likely help you all. We don't keep the information secret, and frequently go to other states and provinces to talk about our work.

    This particular work will continue some previous work on how processing with RO affects syrup chemistry and flavor. We are the ONLY group in the world who has done work on this since shortly after RO was introduced. At that time you could concentrate to about 5%. Now, some people concentrate to over 20%. How does that affect syrup chemistry and flavor....nobody really knew until we started looking at it.

    What does this grant pay for? Mostly salaries for another scientist (Ph.D.) and for 1.5 technicians. My salary is paid for by UVM (you're getting that for free). It also pays for chemical analysis and for purchase of sap concentrate (we can't generate enough from our operation alone to do the study).

    As for the other expenses....the new building we had to build 5 yrs ago to do this work (~$130k)...paid for by UVM mostly (80%) and some gifts from the maple industry (10%). The 4 evaporators and ancillary equipment we had to buy (well over $100k)....paid for by UVM and gifts from Chittenden Co. Maple Sugar Makers Assoc.). Altogether you're getting far more than this grant pays for.

    The earmark request is not attached to the tax bill. It is attached to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which has not yet passed. That is where funding is set for all government agencies. The money for this earmark comes out of funds the USDA is already allocated....they are just told that out of all the funds they will receive, they should give us a grant for $165k. It isn't costing ANY extra. If we don't get the earmark, the USDA will spend that $165k somewhere else...but you can be sure it won't be for maple.

    So....just toss in the money. Who is going to do that? Feel free....send me a check. The maple industry does support our work to some degree, and we do appreciate it. We've been very fortunate. We got one NAMSC grant this year, and one two years ago....they are for about $22-24k, and we need to supply about 50% internal matching funds to receive that. How long do you think that is going to pay the bills? The researchers at UVM PMRC have 40 years of College/University level education and 85 years of work experience. I'm sorry, but that just doesn't come free.

    So....why don't we just go out and get competitive grants? Because the maple industry is literally a drop in the bucket of agricultural commodities. Funds are allocated to the big crops...corn, soybeans, wheat, etc.. Those of us who work in specialty crops basically get locked out because we don't have enough "pull" or influence to warrant funding. The USDA says we're a "Forest Product", go get grant $ there. The Forest Service says we're an "Agricultural Product", go get grant $ there. The National Science Foundation says no funding for maple since we're "Applied Agriculture", not "basic research". Finally....there are "Specialty Crop" grants available...but maple wasn't considered a specialty crop until 2 yrs ago (it was on the marketing side, but not the research side), however UVM needs to come up with a 50% non-federal match to receive any funds through that program. The regular USDA grants for the big crops (corn, soybean, wheat, etc.) don't need to come up with even one skinny cent in matching funds. Go figure.

    P.S. Should have added that IF this bill is passed and the earmark goes though (uncertain at this point), the USDA will take about 9-10% off the top as "administrative fees." UVM administrative fees (overhead) on this grant....ZERO !

    P.P.S. Many agricultural commodity groups have a market order in place that helps to fund marketing and research efforts ("Got Milk"). That is not the case with maple. If you really want to help, consider making a tax-deductible charitable contribution to the North American Maple Syrup Council Maple Research Fund. Of the many THOUSANDS of producers and companies involved in maple, only about 200 donate each year for their "penny per container" to help fund research. If just half of the estimated producers gave only $10 per year, it would DOUBLE the amount of money the NAMSC has available to give out as grants. More information is at: http://www.northamericanmaple.org/in...-research-fund
    __________________
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Last edited by DrTimPerkins; 12-16-2010 at 10:00 AM.

    ________________________________
    These things are right or they are wrong. But you have to know EVERYTHING about them before you can judge instead of regurgitating crap you've been fed because it fits your biases. Just like Palin did when she laugingly ridiculed fruit fly research; not knowing fruit flies are valuable in human research because their genes are similar to ours. Her behavior was not surprising; stupid ideologues always only react, lie and manipulate - never think objectively. It hurts too much and violates the core principle of all ideologues; the truth doesn't matter - only what they think matters.
    Last edited by Atypical; 12-23-2010 at 04:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Atypical is offline

    Fruit-fly Aided Advances.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1222131131.htm

    Read about fruit-flies. They're adorable. And important (to non-ideologues).

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