Some earmarks save taxpayers money

14 years ago

Some earmarks save taxpayers money

To the editor:

Since 1997 Maine Military Authority (MMA) has refurbished more than 14,000 vehicles for the Army and National Guard. The vast majority of these vehicles were discarded by the Army and headed to the scrap yard. After comprehensively refurbishing these vehicles to “like new” condition, ownership is transferred to the National Guard for 40 percent the cost of a new vehicle. Over the years, MMA has saved the National Guard and taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars.

MMA currently employs 350 workers in Limestone and injects more than $19 million in payroll into the northern Maine economy each year. Despite MMA’s demonstrated ability to refurbish vehicles faster, better and cheaper than our federal counterparts, federal budget cuts and regulations are increasingly directing more workload to federal facilities. In fact, in 2009 MMA’s budget was cut by more than 50 percent without notice. Working with Maine’s Congressional Delegation MMA received an earmark to produce additional mission-essential vehicles for the National Guard. This earmark saved 175 jobs at MMA and the taxpayer millions of dollars. Senator Collins currently supports an earmark for MMA that will lay the foundation for a new, long-term, high volume, program commencing in 2012 that will likely support more than 100 jobs for five years.

Over the past year, earmarks have become synonymous with excessive government spending and waste. While citizens are rightly outraged by wasteful projects, we must pause for a moment and acknowledge that some earmarks are proper and beneficial to taxpayers.

Tim Corbett