Wednesday, March 3, 1999

Group targets
Hawaii’s ‘pork’

By Pete Pichaske


WASHINGTON -- A national organization dedicated to fighting wasteful government spending today singled out Hawaii lawmakers -- in particular Sen. Daniel Inouye -- for bringing home more per-person "pork-barrel" spending than any other state.

Citizens Against Government Waste, in its annual "Pig Book" survey of federal spending, found $185 million in what it considered wasteful spending for Hawaii in 1999.

Hawaii's per capita rate of $155.56 was second only to Alaska ($237.76) and about eight times the national per-capita average of $19.23.

Crediting Inouye with securing most of the spending, the group gave Hawaii's senior senator a special "Oinkers" award -- the "Luau Award" --for bringing home so much "Hawaiian pork."

"He's kind of a hardy perennial," said CAGW's Jim Campi, noting that Inouye consistently is able to secure generous amounts of money for his home state.

But Inouye derided CAGW as being out of touch with the needs of both Hawaii and the federal agencies receiving the money.

"It shows how much they know," he said. "I can justify all" the spending.

He said the organization dismisses spending that is invaluable to the military ($20 million for the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai, for example) or to Hawaii ($1 million to keep brown tree snakes off the isles).

"If that's the best they can do, they should go out of business," he said of the list.

CAGW classifies as pork-barrel any spending that meets at least two of seven criteria: requested by only one chamber of Congress; not specifically authorized; not competitively awarded; not requested by the president; not the subject of hearings; greatly exceeds the president's request or the previous year's funding; serves only a local or special interest.

The most costly Hawaii spending cited by CAGW included: $23.5 million for the Army to acquire the Kahuku Training Area on Oahu; $20 million for Native Hawaiian Education; $20 million for the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

CAGW also dismissed as pork-barrel money for military housing at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station, funding for the East-West Center, and money for the University of Hawaii to monitor coral reefs.

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