ATR criticizes Appropriators use of Omnibus bill to waste taxpayers\’ money.

WASHINGTON – Today, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) joined several budget hawks at a press conference highlighting Congress\’s continued use of the Omnibus appropriations bill to include needless pork projects for appropriators and their friends. ATR, together with Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) and other taxpayer protection groups, highlighted several wasteful spending items included in the Fiscal Year 2004 Omnibus Appropriations.

"We have won the tax debate and ensured that no member of Congress with ambitions for higher office will attempt to raise taxes," said Grover Norquist, President of ATR. "However, we must now shift our focus to include methods to curb federal spending and end these useless pork projects."

From 1994 to 2000, spending increased at annual rate of 3.3 percent, far below the growth in the economy. However, since 2000, spending has increased at annual rate of 7.0% a year. This led to the current deficit, which will reach nearly $500 billion this year, and is largely the result of spending faster than the rate of economic growth. Some of the more outlandish pork projects include $725,000 for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, PA and $400,000 for the New York Botanical Garden\’s Virtual Herbarium project in the Bronx.

In response to Congress\’s continued inability to control earmarked spending and unnecessary projects, ATR, in conjunction with several other taxpayer protection organizations, is working to find a solution to end the spending epidemic. Some ideas include term limiting appropriators and forcing Congress to pass the Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bills first.

"In the past several years Federal spending has grown by extraordinary proportions," said Grover Norquist, President of ATR. "It is time for Congress to get a handle on spending by removing needless pork projects. Moreover, the American people must send a message to their members of Congress that unnecessary federal spending will no longer be acceptable."