GOP Appropriators Reinstate Rural Air Subsidies

Monday, June 25th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

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Last week, The Madison Project rolled out a new website with the Madison Performance Index to illustrate just how many conservative districts are represented by big-government Republicans.  Our esteemed Chairman, Jim Ryun, wrote in our inaugural op-ed that many red state Republicans “work in tandem with local parochial interests to ensure that the people of some of our most conservative districts are only represented by supporters of big-government dependency and special-interest politics in the future.”

A great example of this red state dependency mentality is the Essential Air Service, a rural pork program that subsidizes airlines to provide service to communities where such service, due to geography and population, would otherwise be unprofitable.  Everyone knows that there are advantages and disadvantages to living outside of population centers.  On the one hand, you get to live in serenity on a large plot of land for relatively cheap – free of worries from congestion, pollution, and crime.  On the other hand, you need to drive long distances to the nearest airport.  That is a live decision that someone makes when deciding where to live.

Unfortunately, rural politicians in both parties have used taxpayer dollars to subsidies flights to tiny airports that are nothing more than a runway.   Some airports, including White Pine County Airport in Ely, Nevada, enjoy a subsidy to the tune of $3,720 per passenger!  Republicans promised to cut this wasteful program, but ultimately agreed to continue funding the program in the last FAA Reauthorization bill in February.  Now, they plan to increase its funding. This, from Fox News:

Tea party lawmakers from rural areas were among those fighting the hardest to preserve taxpayer subsidies for airline flights into and out of small towns last year after senior Republicans tried to eliminate the oft-criticized program. Now, the House Appropriations Committee is awarding the program an 11 percent budget hike.

Next year, the subsidies would reach a record $214 million under a bill the GOP-run committee approved Tuesday.

So after fighting the EAS program for over a year, Republicans have agreed to appropriate record funds to this program.  And as Fox News observes, many self-described red state Tea Partiers are supporting it.

Folks, we will never limit government if those who represent our most conservative areas seek to create as much dependency on government as their counterparts in blue America.