Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anti-government report lacks credibility

The Goldwater Institute and Citizens Against Government Waste have released their 2011 Arizona Piglet Book which supposedly "exposes 147 pork projects, bad ideas, and misuses of power that have wasted over $1.2 billion" of state funds. Among the items they consider 'pork' are the Arizona Board of Technical Registration's dues to the Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) that provides the tests for geologist licensing, the Arizona Geological Survey, Arizona Historical Society, Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources and a laundry list of other "Budget busting bureaucracies." The Institute makes some unsubstantiated claims, including:

The Arizona Historical Society, the Prescott Historical Society, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Southern Arizona Cemetery would all likely continue to exist with member dues and charitable donations.

The Arizona Geological Survey creates and indexes geological maps and data, a service that could easily be privatized. The agency also regulates the production of geothermal resources, a task that would be performed more effectively by the State Land Department. [excuse me, but AZGS acts on behalf of the Arizona Oil & Gas Conservation Commission to regulate drilling for oil, gas, geothermal, CO2, helium, etc. If this is typical of their research, their whole report is suspect]

The Department of Mines and Mineral Resources “provides technical assistance to mining companies at taxpayer expense.” The specialized support should be funded by fees from those in the mining industry who wish to receive the services, not by tax dollars.
They also go after museums:

Centennial spending doesn’t end with local projects. The state government established a pricey and seemingly unnecessary museum to celebrate the state’s impending centennial. The 2011 state budget gives the Arizona Historical Society $589,700 so it can take over the existing Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum and make it a part of the new Arizona Centennial Museum.
No one from the Goldwater Institute spoke to anyone at AZGS about their claims, so we assume someone there scanned our website and picked out a couple topics that could be misrepresented to readers who know nothing else about what we do. Stick a glossy cover and clever title on it and voila! - they have a nice attention getter and fund raiser.

1 comment:

  1. The report is wrong about the AZGS, but some of the issues concerning the AHS merit review. The report also shows that the Marley Center Museum cost tapayers $3.2 million in 2010. That museum has few visitors. The interactive displays are not maintained, the library is closed, and the class rooms arae piled full of junk. The only feature that appears to be well used is the cocktail bar (seriously - go look).