Here’s one program you probably didn’t realize your tax dollars were funding: a pet-shampoo company.
A new spending bill takes center stage this week in Congress, and according to a Heritage Foundation report, lawmakers could use it to save taxpayers $10.2 billion by axing subsidies including one bolstering a pet-shampoo company.
Romina Boccia, a Heritage budget expert and author of the report, says finding savings for the American people would be wise for congressional appropriators, especially “after reaching an agreement to spend nearly $45 billion more in 2014 than allowed under the sequestration spending caps.”
Her report outlines 10 federal programs full of spending the American public probably doesn’t even know existed.
For instance, a project in the Community Development Block Grant funds the pet-shampoo company and other “wasteful parochial projects.” Boccia says eliminating this funding could save taxpayers $3.1 billion.
Other spending cuts she suggests cover programs she describes to be “better suited for management at a state, local, or private level.”
The Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program, which costs taxpayers $800 million, funds community preservation and landscaping projects like bicycle paths, sidewalks and nature paths — despite the fact that such projects are purely local matters, Boccia says.
Cutting these programs would amount to even more benefits than just saving taxpayers money. Boccia writes:
Doing so would save American taxpayers money in the long run and reduce the size and scope of the federal government—saving even more money, and reducing federal intervention in local government and market functions.
The following is a list of the 10 programs where Boccia believes Congress can save taxpayers money. Click here to read the full report.
1. Cut Pet-Shampoo and Similar Projects, Save $3.1 billion: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funds “wasteful parochial projects, which include funding a pet-shampoo company and issuing risky business loans.”
2. Stop Bankrolling the Common Core, Save $2 billion: The Department of Education competitive grant programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funds more than 60 projects, including an initiative that promotes Common Core national standards. Boccia says this is “an area regarded by tradition and law as a state and local matter.”
3. Cut a Program That Hurts Youth, Save $1.6 billion: Job Corps is a residential job-training program to serve disadvantaged youth, but according to Boccia’s research, it “has an abysmal record.” Job Corps participants were less likely to earn a high school diploma than non-participants in a control group. Participants in the program also worked fewer weeks and worked fewer hours per week than similar teens and tweens.
4. Cut Unnecessary Red Tape, Save $1.5 billion: The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food for Peace Title II grants require food to be purchased in the United States and then shipped across oceans in U.S.-flagged vessels, adding unnecessary logistical challenges to already-higher costs.
5. Cut Pork-Barrel Projects, Save $800 million: The Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program funds community preservation projects like bicycle paths, sidewalks, and nature paths. Boccia argues “such projects are purely local matters.”
6. Cut Private Landowner Beautification, Save $730 million: The Natural Resources Conservation Service runs this program to help private landowners maintain private land and teach them how to best use their land. Boccia says taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize advice on how to improve visual appearance.
7. Cut Government Handouts, Save $200 million: The Department of Transportation Essential Air Service subsidizes the flights of rural passengers who opt for air travel when cheaper or unsubsidized travel alternatives. According to Boccia, any subsidies for these flights should come from the local or state level, which are benefitting from the service.
8. Cut Corporate Welfare, Save $120 million: The Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Program subsidizes activities leading to greater energy efficiency in American manufacturing processes – something Boccia believes companies should decide on their own to participate in.
9. Cut Crony Capitalism, Save $100 million: The Rural Business Program Account deals with business and industry-guaranteed loans and rural business enterprise grants. This allows the federal government to play venture capitalist with taxpayer money, Boccia says.
10. Cut Funding for Overseas Abortions, Save $35 million: The United Nations Population Fund, funded in millions of taxpayer dollars, faces continued allegations that it has been complicit in China’s coercive one-child policy, which is often enforced through forced abortions and forced sterilizations.
To read Boccia’s full report, click here.