Sunday, June 11, 2006

Our tax dollars

James M. Odato of the Times Union writes about “the political piggy bank” that legislators use to fund their pet projects and how they refuse to tell us how the money is spent:
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver refuse to let anyone know how lawmakers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

Since April, the two powerful politicians have rejected all requests to disclose the names of legislators who arranged some $340 million in appropriations of the public's money in recent years for thousands of pet projects, grants and gifts.
. . .
The special appropriations, called "member items," have become a secret piggy bank for Bruno and Silver. As leaders, they decide in private how to spend $170 million the Legislature routinely inserts into the state budget each year for themselves and their 210 colleagues. They add another $30 million for Gov. George Pataki to use as he wishes.

The rest of the story is here. Perhaps it is time for the voters to retire both Mr. Bruno and Mr. Silver. Consider it an act of bipartisanship.