The chairmen agreed to cut the overall level of earmarks to 50 percent of the 2006 level for nonproject-based accounts. According to the chairmen, the fiscal 2008 spending bills were already cut 43 percent from the 2006 level, so this means a slight additional reduction.
Earmarks would be held below 1 percent of discretionary spending in future years, they said. That amounts to about $10 billion a year.
Bill Allison at the Sunlight Foundation makes the right point:
This is okay as far as it goes, and in improvement (currently earmark requests don't have to be disclosed at all), but why these requests can't be centralized in a searchable, sortable, downloadable database rather than spread across 535 member sites is a bit of a mystery.
The good government community has to get lawmakers to accept transparency and technology. It's a tall order.