Wednesday, May 14, 2008

All-You-Can-Eat Pork Barrel Spending Fest In Albany

For every little good thing that comes out of our state government, there seems to be several bad or depressing items right behind it. The amount of pork is certainly a big part of that negative equation and our elected representatives are making sure it gets spread around, despite massive budget cuts elsewhere. To the three men in the room, putting member's names on small projects is more useful than system-wide fixes for education, infrastructure and the overall health of the state's economy.

From The NY Times:

ALBANY — While state analysts are forecasting lean times, lawmakers are bankrolling what some see as a bumper crop of pork.

Late Tuesday, the Senate approved $350 million worth of capital projects. At the direction of Senate Republicans, the state will be spending $5 million to pay for buses at private or parochial schools, $1 million to finance an archival depository at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan and $500,000 for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

“These economic development projects will continue our successful partnership among the private sector, higher education and state government to help create new jobs and retain the highly skilled work force necessary to sustain future economic growth,” the Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, said in a statement.

What Bruno means by sustaining economic growth is that the 'pay to play' culture in Albany will continue as it has for a long time now. We wouldn't want to actually invest in our state as a whole when legislators can get big campaign checks from a specified amount of donors that are able to capitalize on their contribution to state politics, right? This is why we need to get rid of Bruno and everyone else like him with a real reform package that includes clean elections. It is a must if we ever want to see a real improvement in how our tax dollars are managed in the Empire State.