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Eye On Olympia

Fri., Feb. 1, 2008, 4:03 p.m.

Catching up…

The Washington State Policy Center and Citizens Against Government Waste have teamed up to put out a 70-page book chronicling what they see as government waste of taxpayers' money.

The title of the book: "The Washington State Piglet Book: Connecting the dots on how government wastes your money." Here's the web version; here's the 2.4-meg .pdf file.

The book, written by the Policy Center's Paul Guppy, reads like the sort of thing you'd expect to find Republican lawmakers nailing to the door of the Democratic caucus rooms:

The purpose of this book is that state lawmakers do not need every dollar they take from citizens."

Guppy writes.

"The sharp rise in the budget highlights the constant political pressure in Olympia to increase spending and expand the business of government. A wide array of special interests that benefit from government growth, from unions to political activists, work constantly at the capitol to promote their wish lists for additional spending. Lawmakers work in a world of unending spending requests."

Guppy goes on to detail some examples of things that he thinks could easily be -- or should have been -- scrubbed from budget requests:

-$1.5 million in lighting for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge,
-$1 million to subsidize 61 artists' lofts in Seattle,
-The infamous "Say WA" ad campaign for the state, which reportedly cost nearly $500,000 for a puzzling, widely-mocked logo and theme. "We might follow the example of Florida," Guppy suggests. "That state's tourist slogan is `Visit Florida.'"
-$66,000 for market surveys and research re: Christmas trees, a $51-million-a-year business in Washington.

And then -- real money -- Guppy takes aim at nearly $133 million in recent local community projects that he argues have little benefit except to narrow local interests. Among them:

-$150,000 for beaver mitigation on the Little Spokane River,
-$5 million for downtown projects in Bremerton,
-$1 million for work on the Spokane-area Fish Lake Trail,
-Millions of dollars to fix up minor-league baseball parks in Tacoma, Everett, Spokane and the Tri-Cities.

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