The Maine Heritage Policy Center released the 2012 Maine Piglet Book today, detailing hundreds of millions of dollars of wasteful government spending. A new version of a similar publication released in 2009, the 2012 Piglet Book highlights government’s big-spending habits, as well areas where leaders can save taxpayers big money.
The Maine Turnpike Authority, the Maine State Housing Authority, “Welfare for Politicians” and stipends given to UMaine employees are just a few of the examples of excessive government spending highlighted in the 2012 Maine Piglet Book. The Piglet Book reports that the University of Maine alo ne handed out more than $10 million in “stipends” in 2011, while the “clean elections” program has expended than $23 million over the life of the program, landing several participants in jail.
The Piglet Book also highlights the dramatic growth in government salaries in the last decade. In 1997, just 53 state employees took home more than $100,000 in compensation. That number jumped to an all-time high of 435 in 2009, before settling at 344 in 2011. The $1.5 billion handed to Maine as part of the federal “stimulus” package is also featured in the book, including details about how that money was spent.
“We’re excited to make this book available to the citizens of Maine once again so they know how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Scott Moody, CEO at The Maine Heritage Policy Center. “Unfortunately, taxpayers won’t be too happy with all the ways their hard-earned tax dollars have been used. The 2012 Maine Piglet Book is full examples of why we need to rein in government spending and crack down on waste and abuse of public funds.”
The 2009 Maine Piglet Book was one of the first publications to highlight wasteful spending at The Maine Turnpike Authority, pointing out lavish spending on “rest stop artwork” and a brand-new multi-million-dollar office. At the time, supporters of big-government spending and the Turnpike director dismissed the report. In the newest Piglet Book, the Maine Turnpike Authority is featured prominently—this time for felony theft by the Turnpike’s director, who is now serving a prison term.
“Whether it’s the hundreds of millions we waste in overemployment and overpayment to state employees, the millions blown on carbon-trading schemes or the thousands we waste on ‘dance festivals,’ Maine can’t afford to continue wasting taxpayers hard-earned money,” Moody said. “The 2012 Maine Piglet Book will help taxpayers and politicians alike understand that Maine spending is not “cut to the bone” as many will claim, and it will help begin to identify where we can find savings for hard-working Mainers.”