Earmarks have long been the subject of controversy, touted by pundits and politicians on one hand as the means for bringing home the bacon and on the other as pork-barrel spending. In relation to federal spending, the amount of annual earmarked dollars is insignificant; at its zenith in FY 2005 earmarked spending comprised only 6 percent of the year’s total appropriations. Yet preliminary research indicates that earmarks are an increasingly important source of funding for essential state services, such as infrastructure, social services, and economic development. Especially in times of fiscal stress, earmarks save state governments hundreds of millions of dollars in agency program funds and intergovernmental transfers. This study examines the congressional earmarks contained in appropriations legislation for FY 2000 through 2009 to assess trends in categorical distributions across and within the states during the period. The data illustrate a shift in allocations over the decade, from infrastructure, community development and environmental priorities to social and emergency services, higher education and energy needs.
Kunz, K. and O’Leary, S. (2012), "The importance of federal earmarks to state coffers: An examination of distribution trends over the decade", Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 579-608. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBAFM-24-04-2012-B003Download as .RIS
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