It's not pork spending to us - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

It's not pork spending to us

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- This week the group "Citizens Against Government Waste" released the 2010 Pig Book, a list of all the government spending they've labeled "pork-barrel" projects. But many of these projects deemed "extras" in Washington have meaning to Eastern Iowans.

Walk through Saint Joseph Science Hall at Loras College and you'll find a lot of activity. The building houses, labs, lecture halls and tools for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We're really equipping the institution to train students on more modern equipment," said Professor David Speckhard, Ph.D.

Technology is constantly changing and that means equipment can quickly become outdated. Take one machine for example, used in chemistry courses, which allows students to measure the size of gas molecules. But take a closer look and you'll need a floppy disk. But this year Loras will received $200,000 to help replace equipment like this. Funding they're receiving from the government, hidden in an unrelated bill, also known as pork spending.

"People think the government is just handing these out and we really go through a rigorous process proposal process both before and after. And it's not additional money, they already have this in the budget," said Liz Goodfellow, Director of Development Programs.

"Citizens Against Government Waste" posted Loras' funding in their 2010 "Pig Book". Calling this money a waste.

"It really isn't pork as far as we're concerned, it really is a good investment," said Goodfellow.

An investment that Loras isn't alone in. The list continues with $400,000 Clarke College's nursing program and the University of Dubuque's aviation program. It also includes $1.9 million to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium to help with museum expansion and research.

"We're in an area where there is national need in this area, and I think you see that with the funding in the rest of the Dubuque area as well," said Speckhard.

In the meantime, walk through the science hall and anyone here will tell you, it's not pork to them.

Iowa ranked 17th in the list for most pork barrel projects per capita, with about $49.20 of "pork" per person.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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