By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
Governments across the lands waste millions and billions of your dollars each year, but some are better at bad spending than others.
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, Watchdog.org 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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, in short, here’s what governments just love doing with your money: