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Pearls before Swine

December 12, 2008 - John Stack
This morning’s paper has Assemblywoman Janet Duprey whining about the Democrats taking over the state senate. She made some digs at the incoming Majority leader saying that he says things will be different, ‘but we’ll see’. She also decried the probable loss of member items. First, she’s in the Assembly which Republicans have been in the minority for longer than my lifetime. She didn’t really wield any power as a new assemblyman, and in the minority party anyway. We aren’t exactly losing anything on the Assembly side. But, the loss of ‘member items’ – PORK – isn’t exactly bad. The state is something like 15 BILLION in the red Janet! Things have to be cut! Even cutting all the pork isn’t even going to come close to bridging the gap, but it’s a start. I understand how a lot of member items help out small community projects. But, in reality, member items are really just vote buying perks for the majority.
            In 2007, the Senate had almost $86 million in member item spending. Joe Bruno and Dean Skelos were the busiest at the trough, each doling out over 3.5 million in member items. The average Republican doled out 2.3 million. The average Democrat? $296,000. Of course it was just the opposite in the Assembly. Shelley Silver led the way with 3 mill in pork. The average democrat got $541,000 and the average Republican $121,000. Its funny how Duprey wants the Democrats to all of a sudden make the field fair, when I’m sure she wasn’t complaining when the Republican Senators were getting 10 times the pork than Democratic senators.
            I’m not saying any side is free from blame for the swill. I say both are using (abusing?) their power equally. But, business as usual CAN’T continue in the NYS legislature. NY has one of the most dysfunctional legislatures in the whole country. We would hope they would change. But, the blatant power grabs recently by the ‘gang of 3’, who have threatened to jump ship and not support Malcolm Smith for Majority leader, that’s just blatant power politics. It is in absolutely no one’s best interests but their own. But, to keep the majority, the Democrats have to play along. I don’t care who these guys are. I hope they get voted out next election. If somehow the Democrats gain another seat or two, I say strip these jerks of any leadership posts and stipends.


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