This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
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Earmarks: What’s coming here?
I’ve had to shift gears this week from trying to figure out what the region is getting from the stimulus bill to examining what local groups will benefit from the latest federal spending controversy: earmarks in the omnibus spending bill Obama signed this week.
It can be hard to define "earmark" when you try to look at what your federal tax dollars are spent on. It is easy for things to get lost in $410 billion worth of spending. And let’s be honest. Everybody talks about "earmarks" like it’s a dirty word, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been in local government meetings, or talked to nonprofit board members, and conversation about tough budget times has quickly brought up the question, "What can we get from the feds?" regardless of the political affiliation of the speaker.
As you’ll read in a story in tomorrow’s paper, we’ve identified at least $9 million in earmark spending that should benefit groups or projects in this region.
The only earmark that is solely confined within the Fredericksburg limits appears to be $190,000 that will go to the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center for exhibits. I was actually on a tour of the museum’s new building last year with Rep. Rob Wittman (R–1st) and museum board member Charles McDaniel when McDaniel made his pitch for federal funding.
That doesn’t mean nobody asked for more money for the city, though. You can view the spending requests that Wittman, Fredericksburg’s congressional representative, submitted here. You’ll notice he put in for money for the downtown riverfront park and money for an I-95 interchange near Celebrate Virginia. Neither was funded.
Read more in tomorrow’s paper.