How'd you like to buy this telescope? Too late, you already paid one $1.4 million for it.
Taxpayer "I think that's unnecessary."
Would you pay $96,000 to renovate this non-profit theater in Worcester? Too late, you already did.
Taxpayer "That's something scary, the fact that my money is going to something I really have no clue about."
Federal documents we obtained reveal that you also paid:
$1.7 million to examine the "…dynamics of the sea scallop…"
$479,000 for the "demolition" of this building in Lawrence…
And $1.4 million "to increase appreciation of Alaska, Hawaii and Massachusetts heritage."
Our investigation found they're all on your tax bill. This year alone, more than $130 million.
Hank Phillippi Ryan, 7News"Do you think taxpayers know they're paying for all this?"
Pam Wilmot, Common Cause "No, of course not, of course not. They have no idea."
Just like that proposed "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska, they're all earmarks. And they're all paid for when D.C. lawmakers slip local items into federal agency budgets.
Professor David King, Kennedy School of Government "An earmark allows a town to avoid the cost."
We obtained the lists of Massachusetts earmarks and found that over the past several years you've spent:
$98,000 to lure tourists to the Massachusetts Coast…
And $479,000 so UMass Boston could put these sensors in the Neponset River and Boston Harbor to electronically monitor changes in the water.
Hank Phillippi Ryan, 7News"What if taxpayers say, why should I pay for this?"
Professor Bob Chen, UMass Boston "We are the only public university in Boston and we don't enjoy the riches that some of the other private institutions have in terms of large endowments or large tuitions."
$1.4 million bought that telescope for UMass Amherst. The telescope, by the way, is in Mexico.
$200,000 to update the auditorium in Lynn's City Hall.
$1.5 million will fix Medford's band shell and straighten a local road.
Mayor Michael McGlynn, Medford "It's the projects that people support, they believe in, and they want."
And, officials say: remember. You like it when your town gets it. People in Lowell probably love their new river walk that was an earmark.
And Medford's mayor says the town's new water taxi, another earmark, will be a popular attraction.
Hank Phillippi Ryan, 7News"Someone in Malden might say, why should I pay for that stuff in Medford?"
Mayor Michael McGlynn, Medford"Because we'll say, two years ago, we paid for the stuff in Malden."
President- elect Obama has promised to revamp the earmark system, but until then, if you want to see the whole list of earmarks, and find out what your community received, check out the link below.(Copyright (c) 2008 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)