The fiscally and morally bankrupt state of Illinois leads the way in taxpayer-sponsored paid political announcements for president Obama’s American Reinvestment and Recovery ActPlease, Please, Please Elect Democrats” midterm campaign.

I live in Illinois and the signs are everywhere I go. The most galling thing here is we are paving roads that are perfectly fine as is. Results vary. Some states spent nothing on signs.

ABC News reports Some Call it Transparency, Others Another Example of Government Waste.

As the midterm election season approaches, new road signs are popping up everywhere – millions of dollars worth of signs touting “The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act” and reminding passers-by that the program is “Putting America Back to Work.”

On the road leading to Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC there’s a 10′ x 11′ road sign touting a runway improvement project funded by the federal stimulus. [The cost of the sign, $10,000].

ABC News has reached out to a number of states about spending on stimulus signs and learned the state of Illinois has spent $650,000 on about 950 signs and Pennsylvania has spent $157,000 on 70 signs. Other states, like Virginia, Vermont, and Arizona do not sanction any signs.

In response to questions by ABC News, Jill Zuckman of the Department of Transportation said, “The best estimate is that states have spent about $5 million of the $28 billion spent on road projects on signs – or less than .02 percent of overall project spending.”

At the center of the controversy are a series of guidelines provided to stimulus recipients. In the letter, Rep. Issa cites what he calls “perhaps the most overly political guidance on stimulus advertising” involving the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a stimulus recipient. According to investigators from the oversight committee, HUD provided the Office of Native American Programs with information on “signage requirements.” The document suggested a sign template informing the public the projects had been, “Funded By: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Barack Obama, President.”

Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) has joined the chorus of Republican outrage over stimulus signs and claims at least $20 million has been spent on them. He told ABC News, “I think it’s a bit of an oxymoron to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, borrowed money, on a bunch of signs to tell them how we are spending their taxpayer money.”

The point is not what percentage of the stimulus pot went for signs, but rather whether or not the signs are good use of taxpayer money.

Every project, big or small, needs to be addressed from that standpoint. Of course, whether or not one views these signs as wise use of taxpayer money largely depends on who is sitting in the Whitehouse. If it was a Republican, you could safely bet your last dollar the roles would be reversed.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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