Top 10 moments of government waste from 2013

LET IT FLOW: Government loves to spend your money.

By Dustin Hurst |

Governments across the lands waste millions and billions of your dollars each year, but some are better at bad spending than others.

LET IT FLOW: Government loves to spend your money.

Americans are completely used to this. The story of the $150 toilet seat or the $200 hammer no longer shocks the public, but instead serves as a reminder that government just doesn’t care about how it uses taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.

While most of the attention to waste rightly focuses on the binge-spenders inside the Beltway, journalists have their keyboards trained on state capitals across the land. They find unusual and appalling stories of waste, fraud and abuse that other media outlets ignore.

So let’s take a peek at the top 10 examples of government waste from across the states in 2013:

10. Paying more for green

Taxpayers are footing the bill to green a federal building in Minnesota, and the tab isn’t cheap. “The Whipple project is costing as much as 40 percent more per square foot than a new office building, according to some critics, and we’re buying it,” wrote Minnesota’s Tom Steward earlier this year.

Read Steward’s full story here.

9. Run it

Oregon just can’t leave well enough alone. That state set aside $50,000 to create a pilot project to see if buying walking desks for public workers would improve health outcomes.

Read Northwest Watchdog’s story about the walking desks here.

8. Home, times two

What would you do with two luxury homes just blocks apart? That’s the pressing questions weighing on the shoulders of the Nebraska University president because of a little waste in the Cornhusker State. The university decided to buy its president a $750,000 mansion, even though he already owns one just blocks away.

Here’s Nebraska Watchdog’s story on the purchase.

7. Netroots ninnies

Netroots Nation is a gathering of liberals from across the country. So why did two employees from a county in New Mexico use taxpayer money to attend the shindig?

Read here to find out.

6. Cosmic car sale

Sure, car companies need to advertise, but do they really need to use taxpayer money to paint the roofs of their factories? Who are they trying to entice with that ad?

Tennessee Watchdog has that story.

5. Let’s get paid

Times are still tight in Oklahoma, but some public employees don’t give a rip. At least 10 well-paid higher education employees received 5 percent raises this year, adding on to their six-figure salaries. Straight cash, homey.

Oklahoma Watchdog has the details.

4. The cleanest bridge around

This is definitely one of the oddball stories on this list. This city in Nebraska wants to spend at least $600,000 to pigeon-proof a bridge. Think about that for a second. Officials want to take money from families and businesses to protect a bridge from bird poop.

Nebraska Watchdog has that story.

3. Crime and public service pay

An ex-mayor gets sent to prison for smuggling guns. He serves his time and is released. Thanks to his public service, he has a never-ending income source when he hits the streets — his taxpayer-funded pension.

New Mexico Watchdog has more on that.

2. No, really, crime pays

Room, board and income? Sounds pretty sweet, right? That’s essentially the deal some prisoners received. Wisconsin Reporter found that prisoners in that state received more than $600,000 in unemployment benefits while behind bars. Yikes.


1. Common sense is dead

Scrubbing a welfare program’s rolls of the ineligible like a good idea, right? Maybe in the rest of the country, but Illinois just doesn’t play that way. After spending millions of dollars hiring investigators to audit the state’s Medicaid program and those investigators experiencing wild success, the state ended the evaluation and stopped purging people from the program. Because saving millions and millions of dollars each year just makes too much sense.

Illinois Watchdog has more on that here.

So, in short, here’s what governments just love doing with your money:

make it rain obama


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