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Press Release


Nation's Oldest Taxpayer Group Applauds Senate Appropriations Chair's Pledge to Enforce Earmark Ban

For Immediate Release February 2, 2011

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(Alexandria, VA) - The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) today offered praise for Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye’s (D-HI) promise to uphold a ban on earmarks in Congressional spending legislation for two years.

“Earmarks are not just about misdirected tax dollars,” said NTU Executive Vice President Pete Sepp. “No single spending habit shows in starker detail the descent of the overall budget process into special-interest favor-trading and fiscal recklessness quite like earmarks. That is why NTU has consistently been a strong voice for earmark reform, as well as an outright ban. Senator Inouye’s leadership in enforcing a ban on earmarks is a welcome and important step forward.”

Ending the practice of earmarks stands to save taxpayers billions of dollars every year, provided the funding is rescinded rather than redirected to other programs. The Heritage Foundation estimated that in 2009, Congress approved 9,000 earmarks, worth $16.5 billion.

However, for taxpayers, the cost of earmarks goes far beyond that number. The practice has long been used to secure votes for massive legislation loaded with out-of-control spending and taxes. Many bills that burden taxpayers with record spending and new taxes (e.g., “Cap-and-Trade,” health care, and the Omnibus spending bill) practically owe their passage to earmarks that helped sway reluctant lawmakers to cast “yes” votes.

“For years, the National Taxpayers Union has worked on and off Capitol Hill to advance positive reforms that would end earmarking,” Sepp concluded. “Taxpayers deserve a higher ethical standard when it comes to spending their hard-earned money.”