Maine Goes “OINK!” Group Releases Maine Piglet Book

David Williams

November 14, 2012

The Maine Heritage Policy Center recently released its “Maine 2012Piglet Book,” which details “hundreds of millions of dollars of wasteful government spending. A new version of a similar publication released in 2009, the 2012 Piglet Book highlights government’s big-spending habits, as well areas where leaders can save taxpayers big money.” The compilation with its aptly given subtitle, “The book Augusta doesn’t want you to read,” is a dose of reality that should prompt elected officials to change their tendency of wastefully spending taxpayer dollars.

The small size, geographically speaking, of Maine in no way reflects the hefty spending the taxpayers of the state bear.  To get right into the numbers, the “Maine 2012Piglet Book,” breaks down just how the state’s per year spending, $7,595,151,209, hits taxpayers’ pocketbooks throughout the state.  This hefty sum breaks down to $13,781 per household and $5,718 per person.  After its thorough analysis of the costs Mainers are burdened with, the piglet report explains, “So, if the state can spend $14,450 per minute and the median household income is $46,993, it follows that Maine government can spend what a household makes in an entire year in just over 3 minutes.”  This startling set of numbers is something that should wake up all of Maine’s taxpayers, including its legislators, and prompt them into action.  There’s little way to imagine that spending at this rate and amount could possibly be justified, but that doesn’t mean the bureaucrats at state agencies in Augusta and elected officials throughout the state don’t try.

We don’t want to spoil all of the terrifying ways Maine’s government has found to spend taxpayer money, but here’s a few that Maine Heritage Policy Center has highlighted: “The Maine Turnpike Authority, the Maine State Housing Authority, ‘Welfare for Politicians’ and stipends given to UMaine employees are just a few of the examples of excessive government spending highlighted in the 2012 Maine Piglet Book. The Piglet Book reports that the University of Maine alone handed out more than $10 million in ‘stipends’ in 2011, while the ‘clean elections’ program has expended than $23 million over the life of the program, landing several participants in jail.”  Unfortunately this list of waste only begins to skim the surface of examples offered in the new report.

As the Maine Piglet Book notes, “Even though Maine is a relatively small state, with approximately 1.3 million residents, it sure can tax and spend.” What this demonstrates is that our nation’s wasteful, superfluous spending ways are endemic and certainly not exclusive to the federal government, though its spending and wastefulness is on a much larger scale.  What this proclivity further demonstrates is that because this problem of is such a pervasive one, the antidote needs to reach equally far to eliminate every unnecessary government project – that’s a little redundant – out there.  And that’s one tough order.  So while working to eliminate all wasteful spending for good, individual states would be wise to follow the lead set by Maine and its Heritage Policy Center and create more piglet books.

As Maine has already begun to do, other states could use their findings to influence their elected officials’ behavior and decision making.   Even after impressive and influential endeavors like the Piglet book, some elected officials may demonstrate they just can’t change.  Should that be the unfortunate case then thanks to our great republic, taxpayers are provided with the option to vote the perpetual pork barrel-ers right out of office.  And that’s just what they should do.  While there’s no magic wand we can wave to make wasteful spending disappear, citizens can say enough is enough and demand more from the folks in office that allow the wasteful spending to continue.

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