Earmarks Everywhere: How Does Your State Stack Up?

BY Chris Amico  November 16, 2010 at 4:39 PM EST

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Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, won’t be taking any earmarks in the next Congress. After a public debate with members of his own party, McConnell acquiesced to Sen. Jim DeMint Monday — and now says he supports a ban on the much-debated spending projects.

McConnell has been the focus of the recent back and forth — The Washington Post called him ” a master of purveying federal pork for his home state of Kentucky” — but earmarks are a well-worn and far-reaching Senate tradition.

In the map above, you can see earmark spending per capita across all 50 states, along with total spending and the total number of projects funded. The data comes from Taxpayers for Common Sense, which tracks federal spending, and says earmark spending is on the rise:

Earmark totals appear to have decreased from fiscal year (FY) 2009 to FY2010, but an apples-to-apples comparison tells a different story. In FY10, appropriations bills contained 9,499 congressional earmarks worth $15.9 billion. This compares with 11,286 congressional earmarks worth $19.9 billion in FY09. However, to do a true year-to-year comparison requires taking away certain Army Corps of Engineers earmarks that were included in FY09 but not in FY10.[1] In addition, the FY09 total includes earmarks from a supplemental spending bill passed after the regular spending bills that year. [2] After adjusting for both of these factors, FY10′s $15.9 billion in earmarks represents a slight increase from $15.6 billion in FY09.

While all states get some funding for pet projects, only seven received more than $100 per person in 2010:

  • South Dakota: $112.21
  • Montana: $124.77
  • Alaska: $139.77
  • Mississippi: $141.91
  • West Virginia: $173.74
  • North Dakota: $233.60
  • Hawaii: $318.26