Monday, April 02, 2007

The rich get richer

With coffee-stained shirts and while sweating enough grease to fill a dirty fast-food frialator, state legislators signed off on a nearly $8 billion worth of budget increases Sunday, adding more fat to an already overweight spending plan. And coming home to Saratoga County with perhaps the biggest slab of fat-laden bacon was Hollywood Joe Bruno, who managed to wrench open the spigot of video lottery terminal “aid” Governor Eliot Spitzer had proposed to distribute to more needy cities in the state.

As a result, the impoverished lawmakers of Saratoga County and Saratoga Springs will pocket a cool $1.2 million and $3.7 million respectively for their trouble in hosting a little slice of Vegas on their turf. Now the county legislature will finally be able to add real gold plating to the horse-head bike racks or maybe purchase some trendy platinum toilet seats for the county offices in Ballston Spa.

True, it’s a bit cynical to not only look but poke fun at a gift horse’s mouth. The city continues to bluster on about building a recreation center, while the Saratoga cops are giving tours of their crumbling station like carnies through the haunted house ride at the state fair. And at the county level, the Republicans are running out of time to find ways of making their overly expensive water plan not seem like tax payer drain.

But to think this county –or the city for that matter –is in any sort of financial dire is ludicrous. Unless of course you consider the burden most lower-middle class property owners in the city and county are bearing these days, in which case the term dire is probably a marked understatement. Nevertheless, this windfall cash infusion will likely be spent largely on pet projects rather than to lower taxes for those most in need.

Speaking of taxes, the state Legislature will need to find some way to pay for the rampant 11th hour pot-dipping by Bruno and the other windbags who promised to stead the tide of government spending this year. Instead, it seems like the spending went back to the basic state legislator precept that crafting a budget is akin to a 15-minute supermarket shopping spree at the local grocery store –grab as much as you can and fire across the finish line before time runs out.

Among some of the other budget highlights is a $10,000 slush fund for the Saratoga Anniversary Committee, which apparently organizes a remembrance of the eponymous Revolutionary War battle. Not that this is an exuberant amount, but one would think the county could pony up the cash using some of the millions they bilked from VLT funding.

Bruno also tried unsuccessfully to bring home $9 million worth of loan forgiveness to the Saratoga Economic Development Corps. apparently used to lure AMD to Luther Forest in Malta. Hey, the state’s already forking over $1.2 billion to get the chip maker here –not including the county water boondoggle –so who cares about an extra million here or there?

Not the state legislature, which saw fit to shove an extra million ducats in the budget to fund the construction of cell towers along the Northway. Republican Sen. Betty Little made enough public noise in January to secure the funding, which some might argue is a necessity to keep the northern passage through the Adirondacks safe. But a more fiscally wise way to get this accomplished would have been to hardball the multi-billion dollar communications companies into doing the project themselves. After all, they’re the ones that will benefit the most from the better coverage.

Instead, the state’s lawmakers will again pat themselves on the back while putting off for a later date the inevitable need to curb of spending. Inevitably, the only way they’ll be able to do this if the budget involves the entire Legislature and not just three –or two –men in a room. Budget gurus also have to at last agree to stop raiding the cookie jar each year and start thinking in the best interest of the state, not just their own little fiefdoms.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph L.(apdance)Bruno pork:

> Agricultural Stewardship Association — $5,000 for Farmland
Protection Project;
> AIDS Council of NENY — $10,000 for funds to provide mental health
counseling for HIV/AIDS clients and a food pantry program;
> Albany Medical Center Foundation — $10,000 for a Healing Arts
Program for children with cancer;
> Altamont Program, Inc. — $50,000 for transitional case management
for coordination of services;
> Alzheimer’s Association — $50,000 to fund programs and services;
> Arts Center of the Capital Region — $260,000 for capital
improvement projects;
> Arvilla E. Diver Memorial Library — $25,000 to stop erosion of
embankment;
> Averill Park Pop Warner — $9,000 to purchase new helmets;
> Ballston Area Community Center — $25,000 for a new gymnasium
ventilation system and outdoor playground equipment;
> Ballston Spa Soccer Club — $10,000 to continue programs;
> Ballston Spa, Village of — $20,000 to purchase a new furnace for
Union Fire Company;
> Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region — $40,000 for youth
mentoring programs;
> Brunswick Bulldogs Youth Football & Cheerleading — $5,000 to
purchase equipment;
> Brunswick Girls Softball — $7,500 to purchase uniforms and
equipment;
> Brunswick Little League — $10,000 to purchase uniforms and
equipment;
> Brunswick, Town of — $15,000 for lighting project at ball fields;
> Capital District Community Gardens — $50,000 to fund gardening
education and job training center;
> Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer — $10,000 to fund
education and support services for breast cancer survivors and caregivers;
> Capital Region Youth Tennis Foundation — $5,000 for tennis
programs for low-income youth;
> CAPTAIN Youth & Family Services — $58,000 to upgrade equipment;
> Castleton Volunteer Ambulance Service, Inc. — $25,000 to purchase
communication equipment;
> Castleton-on-Hudson, Village of — $10,000 to establish a community
outreach program;
> Catholic Charities Caregivers Support Services — $40,000 to
provide respite services;
> Center for Disabilities Services — $75,000 to provide respite
services;
> Chamber of Southern Saratoga County — $25,000 for computer
equipment and website upgrades;
> Children’s Corner Day Care Center — $10,000 for programs;
> Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County –
$45,000 to purchase two vehicles;
> East Greenbush Pop Warner — $30,000 to purchase new equipment;
> Families in Need of Assistance, Inc. — $10,000 to serve people in
need of health and welfare referrals;
> Girl Scouts of the Adirondack Council, Inc. — $25,000 for Capital
Campaign;
> Grafton, Town of — $50,000 to renovate meeting area in Town Hall;
> Greenbush Youth Soccer Club — $30,000 to fund capital improvements
at soccer field;
> Halfmoon Fire District # 1 — $17,000 to purchase a thermal imaging
camera;
> Hoosic Valley Stampede Football & Cheerleading — $10,000 to
purchase uniforms and equipment;
> Hope 7 Community Center — $15,000 for operation costs and to fund
food pantry and children’s programs;
> Johnsonville Volunteer Ambulance Service, Inc. — $37,000 to
replace pagers and purchase new radios;
> Lansingburgh Cardinals Travel Baseball — $4,500 for league
expenses and equipment;
> Lansingburgh Historical Society — $20,000 to repair and replace
roof;
> Lansingburgh Independent Baseball League — $21,000 for
improvements to baseball complex;
> Legal Aid Society of NENY, Inc. — $30,000 to provide legal
services to low-income residents;
> Legal Project of the Capital District Women’s Bar Association –
$75,000 for domestic violence programs;
> Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County — $14,000 for volunteer
recruitment and training;
> Mechanicville, City of — $100,000 for economic development
initiatives;
> Milton, Town of — $50,000 to enlarge town’s community center;
> Mothers Against Drunk Driving — $5,000 for educational programs
and volunteer training;
> Nassau Baseball Association, Inc. — $15,000 for improvements to
fields and addition of restrooms;
> New York Heartbreakers Travel Softball — $5,000 to purchase
uniforms and equipment;
> North Greenbush, Town of — $100,000 for a water district project;
> North Hoosick Fire Department — $20,000 for a generator and
equipment upgrade;
> Palms of the Oasis — $10,000 for programs to benefit at-risk
youth;
> Pittstown Volunteer Emergency Corps — $15,000 to upgrade
equipment;
> Pittstown Volunteer Fire Company — $28,000 for safety and
mechanical upgrades to the pumper tanker;
> Quaker Springs Volunteer Fire Company — $20,000 to support farm
rescue project;
> R.O.U.S.E — $75,000 to fund mini-repair program;
> R.O.U.S.E — $10,000 for renovations at Nassau Senior Housing;
> Rensselaer County Bureau of Public Safety — $28,000 for
replacement generator and fuel tank for Grafton radio tower;
> Rensselaer County Department for Aging — $37,000 to purchase two
vans;
> Rensselaer County Department for Veterans Affairs — $54,000 to
purchase a handicap accessible van;
> Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency — $20,000 for a
sewer line extension;
> Rensselaer County Soil and Water Conservation District — $25,000
to upgrade the district’s conservation field vehicle;
> Roarke Center — $20,000 to fund emergency assistance programs;
> Sand Lake, Town of — $25,000 for handicapped equipment and
improvements to Sand Lake Town Park;
> Saratoga Bridges — $50,000 for family support services programs;
> Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office — $50,000 for training
programs and seminars;
> Saratoga Lake Protection & Improvement District — $30,000 for the
Eurasian Milfoil Project;
> Saratoga P.L.A.N — $100,000 for trail improvements and connections
in Malta and Luther Forest;
> Saratoga, Town of — $15,000 to purchase communication and training
equipment;
> Schodack Landing Fire Company — $15,000 to replace fire hoses;
> Schodack, Town of — $20,000 to fund emergency access systems;
> Sexual Assault & Crime Victims Assistance Program — $75,000 to
fund sexual assault prevention and intervention programs;
> Shenendehowa Senior Citizens, Inc. — $40,000 to fund Care Links
Program for seniors;
> Soldier’s Heart — $25,000 to fund programs reaching out to
soldiers returning from war;
> South Glens Falls, Village of — $25,000 to assist the village with
improvements to Coopers Cave;
> South Troy Little League — $15,000 to construct a new T-ball
field, dugouts and bleachers;
> Southern Rensselaer County Baseball Association — $10,000 to
purchase a new septic system;
> Spring Youth Baseball Organization — $30,000 to make safety
upgrades, purchase new backdrops for home plate, and pave;
> St. Paul’s Center — $25,000 to fund programs for homeless mothers
and children transitioning to housing;
> Sunnyside Center — $50,000 for after-school and summer youth
programs;
> To Life! — $50,000 to fund the Greater Access Through Education
(GATE) program;
> Troy Boys and Girls Club — $50,000 to renovate Camp Barker
facilities;
> Troy Central Little League — $10,000 to replace a fenced-in back
stop for home plate;
> Troy Flag Day Parade Committee — $10,000 for costs pertaining to
the 40th annual Troy Flag Day Parade;
> Troy Savings Bank Music Hall — $90,000 to fund phase one of its
renovation project;
> Twin Town Senior Baseball Club, Inc. — $15,000 to construct
practice cages and for other field improvements;
> Unity House — $45,000 to fund the Unity House Law Project serving
domestic violence victims;
> W.B. Neilson Hose Company No. 4, Mechanicville Fire Department –
$22,000 to purchase new firefighting equipment;
> Waterford Fordians Summer Baseball League — $20,000 to purchase a
new batting cage, uniforms and equipment, and for field improvements;
> Waterford Rescue Squad — $5,000 to purchase two new stair chairs
for patient transport;
> Waterford Town Police Department — $10,000 to purchase four new
automated external defibrillators for police units;
> Waterford, Town of — $60,000 to make repairs to the municipal
swimming pool;
> World Awareness Children’s Museum — $50,000 to fund its capital
campaign for building, purchasing and renovation costs; and
> YWCA of Troy-Cohoes — $75,000 to fund its women and children of
the community programs.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Les Clutter said...

I still want to see Bruno led out of the capital in handcuffs by the FBI

5:51 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

that so called pork is at least going to mostly just causes, why aren't you bitching about our Senator Clinton's proposed 1 Million dollars for a hippie museum in Bethel, Ny or any of the rediculous democrat pork spending...they do control this state you know, why don't you move to Albany county you dumbass

5:22 PM  

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