Taxpayers for Common Sense released a report on February 17 indicating that the number of earmarks in federal FY 2010 appropriations bills declined from the year before, from 10,363 to 9,413. Spending on these earmarks increased slightly, however, from $15.6 billion to $15.9 billion.
These numbers are generally consistent with recent trends for child-serving nonprofit social service agencies. Earlier this year, the newspaper Youth Today found 813 earmarks for these organizations in FY 2010 federal appropriations bills, down from just over 1,000 in FY 2009 and far below the peak of 1,363 in FY 2005. Youth Today found that these earmarks totalled $309 million in FY 2010, down from $636 million in FY 2009, but much of the decrease was due to a small number of one-time, high-dollar earmarks that were made the previous year.
During his January 27 State of the Union address, President Obama called for increased transparency in the federal earmark process, asking Congress to publish all earmarks on a central, publicly-accessible web site.
The Alliance for Children and Families supports increased transparency in the earmark process, believing that increased transparency will help ensure that earmarks are used for public purposes. A review of the recent history of earmarks and earmark reform can be found in an Alliance report published last year.