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Would you spend $11.5 million on a fitness center? Well, you already have.

The gym at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, was one of thousands of projects included in the 2009 Pig Book, an annual publication by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

Hot off the press this week, the Pig Book shows Americans just what their tax dollars are used for right around the time many taxpayers are filing their returns. In all, this year’s offering details 10,160 projects costing taxpayers $19.6 billion in what CAGW considers wasteful spending.

Since 1991, the group has compiled lists of earmarks used to fund what the group considers pork barrel projects in annual appropriations bills. It also names the legislators who push for the projects.

The criteria CAGW uses to label something as pork are based on cost as well as the level of transparency surrounding the funding of any particular item. For example, if a budget item isn’t specifically authorized, competitively awarded or requested by the president, it’s labeled as pork.

In the arena of defense spending, the book cites $465 million for "continued development of the F-136 engine as an alternative in the Joint Strike Fighter program," which CAGW says is already $55 billion over budget.

More than $44 million dollars went to fund six chapel projects at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Rucker, Ala.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; and Fort Campbell, Ky.

In other categories such as agriculture, the book cites more than $4.5 million dollars used to research uses for wood.

"One would think that after 24 years of research all the purposes for one of the world’s most basic construction materials would have been discovered," the book states.

This year’s book, along with all previous editions, is available at the CAGW Web site: http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_pigbook2009.

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