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You Gotta Spend Money to Spend Money

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Your local tax dollars could be used to keep Washington from saving your federal tax dollars. The Pentagon is gearing up for the latest round of base closings. And cities and states around the country are hiring lobbyists to keep their neighborhood bases off the list.

Florida is spending $50,000 a month on a lobbying firm. Most states and cities who’ve hired lobbyists are keeping the numbers secret. But estimates put the cost easily into the millions.

The base closings will be announced before May 16. So cities and states are taking pre-emptive action:

–California Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger has hired a lobbying firm that boasts former Rep Vic Fazio (D-CA) and David Berteau — a former Asst Sec of Defense whose job was to close bases.

–Florida Gov Jeb Bush has hired a lobbying firm that includes former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and former Defense Secretary William Cohen

Former Secretary Cohen, a Defense Secretary in the Clinton administration, was singing the praises of base closings back in 1998. Speaking to the nation’s mayors, he said:

“BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure] today can be a win-win-win proposition — a win for the government when it frees up money for more important military uses, a win for the communities when they create new jobs, and a win for businesses that seize new opportunities to grow and flourish.”

Now, like Mr Berteau, the former Secretary’s putting his experience to work on the other side of the argument. That’s where governors and mayors are spending millions of your tax dollars to make sure Uncle Sam keeps spending billions more of your tax dollars.

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About Terry Turner