Is it good news or bad that Washington has dropped two notches in the Pig Book? The annual pork report and state rankings issued by Citizens Against Government Waste, a D.C. watchdog group, puts us at 27th this year in Congressional pork, after making the top 25 last year. With $208,227,997 in what CAGW considers unnecessary spending, Washington's 6,549,224 citizens get a per capita share of $31.79. (In 2008 it was $41.48.) Tops on the Pig list is Alaska, as it is almost every year, with $322.34 in lard per citizen. (Though the king of pork, Sen. Ted Stevens is gone, his spending requests from last year are included in the count).
Among the fat that needs cutting, says the book, is the $245,000 appropriated by Washington Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with Demo House members Norm Dicks, Brian Baird, Jay Inslee, Adam Smith and Republican Doc Hastings, for Aegilops cylindrica, or jointed goat grass, to be planted in Washington and Idaho. It's a grass native to Europe and Asia and is similar to wheat. Murray was also singled out for $60,092,725 being spent on 63 projects, which include Squaxin Island access improvement, Vashon Island passenger ferry, plastic and composite vehicle research, and funding for the Freight Transportation Policy Institute.
Dicks, an annual standout in the book, also got fingered for requesting $1,280,000 in public funds for the Puget Sound Navy Museum in Bremerton, which is dedicated to "collecting, preserving, and interpreting the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and general public." Dicks directed $1 million to the museum in fiscal year 2008. The book also cites his requests for six projects worth $4,270,000 which includes the Gig Harbor Fish Passage, the Tacoma-Seattle Urban Forest, the Hood Canal Dissolved Oxygen Study, and the Mason County Courthouse restoration.
But then Dicks has always subscribed to the view that someone else will take it if he doesn't. That was the mantra of his longtime mentor and major porker, Sen. Warren Magnuson, who is remembered for adding an innocent line to an appropriations bill one day, and Grand Coulee Dam was born. As Maggie used to say, and Dicks still preaches, "What do they want me to do, send the money to New Jersey?"