The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an "omnibus appropriations bill" for Fiscal Year 2004 (HR 2673), and it is a doozy. In a rush to get home for the holidays, the members bundled seven unpassed appropriations bills into one, and mixed them all up with a generous serving of lard straight from the political pork barrel. The Heritage Foundation has published a list of "earmarked" spending items specified in the bill. The list bears exquisite testimony to the profligacy of your federal government.

In Michigan, there is no comparable list of identifiable pork, but that doesn’t mean state taxpayers do not subsidize a barrel-full of wasteful or outrageous expenditures. It just means that budgets passed by our Legislature do not list the pork in such neat lists of separate line items.

Instead, tens or hundreds of individual expenditures are rolled up into single line items with titles like "education services" or "incentive grants." Most citizens can point to particular grants or programs that qualify as "pork-barrel spending," but following and documenting the money trail is a challenge.

The closest thing to a well-documented Michigan "pork list" is found in the Mackinac Center’s publication, "Recommendations to Strengthen Civil Society and Balance Michigan’s State Budget," by Director of Fiscal Policy Michael LaFaive. This document takes each government department and program, explains what it is supposed to accomplish, and recommends whether it should be kept as is, scaled back, or eliminated altogether.

Here is the list of federal pork that the Heritage Foundation plucked out of HR 2673:

$200,000

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland, Ohio

$1,800,000

2003 Women's World Cup Tournament

$75,000

Vintage Radio Programs and Jazz Museum, East Stroudsburg University

$100,000

Kids Rock Free educational program, Fender [Guitar] Museum of the Arts Foundation, Corona, California

$500,000

Bike path, St. Petersburg, Florida

$2,000,000

Tools for Tolerance program, California

$725,000

Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

$100,000

Renovation of the historic Coca-Cola building in Macon, Georgia

$150,000

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

$6,000,000

Police Athletic League

$250,000

Call Me Mister program, Clemson University

$500,000

New England Amer-I-Can Program

$150,000

Rock School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

$16,000

National Distance Running Hall of Fame, Utica, New York

$225,000

Hawaii statehood celebration

$325,000

Construction of a swimming pool in Salinas, California

$100,000

History competition during National History Day in Iowa

$175,000

Therapeutic Horsemanship center, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

$315,000

Formosan Subterranean Termite research

$100,000

Public service recognition week

$100,000

Construction of an intergenerational daycare center in San Fernando Valley, California

$372,000

B&O Railroad Museum emergency restoration, Baltimore, Maryland

$75,000

Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Washington, DC

$225,000

Construction of Blue-Gray Civil War Theme Park, Kentucky

$75,000

North Pole Transit System JARC Program, Alaska

$250,000

Feasibility study of establishing Suffolk (Virginia) Workforce Development Center

$350,000

Construction for a folk cultural center in Pinellas County, Florida

$400,000

Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

$90,000

Olive fruitfully research

$150,000

Traffic light, Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District, New York

$100,000

People for People, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

$100,000

Amphitheater construction, North Star Productions, Inc., Bracken County, Kentucky

$2,000,000

First Tee program

$150,000

Regional Youth Baseball Complex Lancaster, California

$100,000

John Singleton Mosby Museum Foundation in Warrenton, Virginia

$180,000

Seafood waste research, Fairbanks, Arkansas

$400,000

Walla Walla Public Schools, Walla Walla, Washington

$900,000

Kincaid Park Trail Connection, Alaska

$20,000

Southern Star Development Corporation, Louisville, Kentucky

$85,000

Comprehensive Transportation Plan for Lewisburg, West Virginia

$100,000

Norman Hall project, University of Florida

$225,000

Museum of Aviation Foundation Inc, Warner Robins, Georgia

$250,000

Lou Frey Institute of Politics, University of Central Florida

$270,000

Sustainable olive production

$5,000,000

Kennedy Center Potomac River Pedestrian and Bike Path

$100,000

National Civil War Museum, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

$200,000

Cedar glades research

$250,000

Theater construction, Studio for the Arts, Pocahontas, Arkansas

$2,000,000

Intermodal Transload Facility, Quincy, Washington

$110,000

Construction of a dental clinic in Bassfield, Mississippi

$220,000

New Mexico Retail Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico

$400,000

Davenport Music History Museum, Davenport, Iowa

$3,000,000

US 12 Widening, Wallula Junction to Walla Walla, Washington

$25,000

Alex Haley House Museum, Henning, Tennessee

$225,000

Rialto Square Theater, Joliet, Illinois

$5,000,000

Project SOCRATES

$90,000

Rabbit Run Community Arts Association, Madison, Ohio

$150,000

Renovation of Farmers market, Dallas, Texas

$200,000

Merit School of Music's after-school program

$200,000

Advanced Traffic Analysis Center, North Dakota

$250,000

Nevada Test Site Oral History Project

$400,000

National Center for American Revolution, Wayne, Pennsylvania

$1,000,000

Hal Rogers Parkway, Kentucky

$1,000,000

Ship Creek Improvements, Alaska

$2,000,000

I-SAFE America

$50,000

National Canal Museum, Easton, Pennsylvania

$100,000

Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea

$200,000

Renovation of First National Bank Building, Greenfield, Massachusetts

$250,000

Martha's Village and Kitchen, Indio, California

$270,000

Potato storage

$1,000,000

Transylvania Community Hospital, Brevard, North Carolina

$6,000,000

Treasure Island Bridge

$80,000

Hot Springs Bike Trail, Arkansas

$90,000

Karnal bunt research, Manhattan, Kansas

$175,000

Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, Kansas

$210,000

Winston Link Museum, Roanoke, Virginia

$250,000

James S. Taylor Memorial Home, Louisville, Kentucky

$250,000

Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago, Illinois

$500,000

Traffic Signal Replacement Program, New Rochelle, New York

$2,000,000

Parents Anonymous

$100,000

"Servicing our Youth"

$275,000

Refurbishment of the Coach George E. Ford Center, Powder Springs, Georgia

$150,000

Piper's Opera House Programs, Inc., Virginia City, Nevada

$1,250,000

US-2, Dover Bridge, Bonner County, Idaho

$113,000

Healing Place, Louisville, Kentucky

$500,000

Jim Thorpe Bridge Renovation Project, Pennsylvania

$600,000

Web Wise Kids

$800,000

Mammoth Lakes Bus Purchase, California

$100,000

Renovate the Jamestown (Ohio) Opera House

$400,000

Ed Roberts Campus transit center, California

$750,000

The Doe Fund's Ready, Willing & Able program

$160,000

Grapevine Bus Purchase, Texas

$500,000

Round Rock Higher Education Center, Southwest Texas State University

$1,400,000

Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

$25,000

Transylvania County, North Carolina, Sheriff's Citizens Observer Patrol and Education Team

$200,000

Chaldean Community Culture Center, West Bloomfield, Michigan

$300,000

Milwaukee Summer Stars

$450,000

Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center, Inc., Ashland County, Ohio

$750,000

Intelligent Transportation Systems, Wichita Transit Authority

$1,500,000

Operation Streetsweeper

$125,000

Planning for new route over Cape Fear River, North Carolina

$300,000

Omnitrans Paratransit Vehicles, California

$1,000,000

WestStart Vehicular Flywheel Project, Washington

$15,000

Pines of Peace, Inc., Ontario, New York

$75,000

U.S. Dream Academy, Inc., Columbia, Maryland

$200,000

Oneont Bus Replacement, New York

$450,000

Trout Genome Mapping

$500,000

LOVE Social Services, Fairbanks, Arkansas

$750,000

Broken Bow rail spur, Oklahoma

$1,000,000

DelTrac Statewide Integration, Delaware

(Source: The Heritage Foundation, http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm377.cfm )