Archive for May, 2011

A $105 Million Here, a $105 Billion There, …

May 31, 2011

“… And pretty soon it adds up to real money!”

The original quotation, uttered in wry commentary at his fellow Senators’ earmarking habits, was “A billion here, a billion there!  And pretty soon it adds up to real money!” –  Attributed to many US Senators, including Estes Kafauver.  In the 1950s when the total federal budget was under a hundred billion, a billion was a lot of money.

*”New $105M Va. prison remains empty” is the Jan 2011 headline about a Virginia state prison.

But four months after the Grayson County prison was completed at a cost of $105 million, it sits empty — the consequence of a declining number of inmates statewide, and a reduction in state dollars to lock them up.

Having a new prison without prisoners is a striking turnabout for Virginia. The state’s inmate population of about 38,000 has nearly doubled since 1994, when the General Assembly voted to abolish parole and to embark on a prison-building boom.

In the past two fiscal years, however, the number of inmates has declined for the first time in recent history, dropping by 2.8 percent.

* “What if they built a school and nobody got to go?”


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