Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Garrett's Out of District Spending Spree

With President Bush's signing of the massive Omnibus spending bill today, about $10 billion worth of earmarks are now about to be handed out. Of that amount, our Representative Scott Garrett is responsible for $8.77 million (h/t Herb Jackson).

The extremely small amount of earmarks could lead one to believe that Garrett is sticking to his guns about only getting earmarks for the District and opposing everything else. However, as with most things Garrett, appearances are deceiving.

In fact, 70% of Garrett's earmarks appear to be out of District in nature. From military research at undisclosed locations ($6 million) to an earmark for Englewood Hospital, Garrett spread the majority of what little wealth he went after outside of the District.

What's also interesting is Garrett's geographic spread of funding within the District. Here's how the in-District funding broke down:
  1. Sussex: 44%
  2. Warren: 31%
  3. Bergen: 22%
  4. Passaic: 3%

I guess, if Garrett really were trying to represent the District as a whole he would try for a little more population parity. Also, Warren County's numbers are a little distorted by one $750,000 earmark (Garrett's largest non-military) to Centenary College. While I have little doubt of the quality of Centenary or the program there, this points to Garrett's failings as an overall Representative.

Why is it Rep. Steve Rothman had to secure money for Bergen Community College (which is in our District; and serves the population of 60% of our District)? Why didn't Garrett think Warren County Community College, Sussex County Community College or Ramapo College deserved funds?

While sending dollars to the hospital of your birth is usually reserved for an endowment fund out of your personal checkbook, Garrett decided to send $150,000 taxpayer dollars to Englewood. What about hospitals like Valley in Ridgewood, Bergen Regional, Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg or Hackettstown Memorial?

If Garrett, by his own "principles" isn't going to go after earmarked funds, we need to take a hard look at how he goes after the funds he does. It's one thing to say you're against earmarks, it's another thing to say by your funding choices that you're against your own constituents. It's a matter of putting taxpayer dollars where Garrett sees fit, and overwhelmingly that's not in our District.


clammyc said...

What is the deal with Garrett and Centenary College? Wasn't there a $500K earmark recently for the College as well?

Is there some "quid pro quo" going on there?

rmfretz said...

Yes on the other earmark, but I don't know the connection. If there is one, unless everybody on the board gives him money that you can track through the FEC or a family connection of some kind (current or alumni), it'd be tough to figure out.

rmfretz said...

I do think it's important to be careful about painting Centenary as some kind of UMDNJ without something solid though. It's one of the oldest colleges in NJ and is a respected institution.