$500G just another day at the office for state senators

| Media Coverage

ALBANY – Eight state senators, including four from the city, have spent more than $500,000 each in taxpayer money on office expenses in just the last six months.

The Empire Center for Public Policy says the lawmakers burned up the cash in the last half of the fiscal year on rent, personnel, travel and other costs.

“The state is facing a multibillion-dollar budget deficit; maybe it’s time for the Legislature to rethink how much money it is spending on itself,” said Lisa Bang-Jensen, the center’s senior policy analyst.

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Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the Senate, accounted for seven of the eight $500,000-plus offices, the center’s report said.

Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Carl Kruger, who often votes with Republicans, ranked eighth at $515,559.

Other New Yorkers on the list include Serphin Maltese of Queens ($587,001), Frank Padavan of Queens (538,918) and Martin Golden of Brooklyn ($526,175).

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Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, defended the expenses as simply the “the cost of running an office, responding to constituents.”

According to the Empire Center, the 32 Senate Republicans averaged $445,904 in office expenses from Oct. 1 last year through March 31 this year. The Senate’s 30 Senate Democrats averaged $274,316.

In the Assembly, members of the Democratic majority averaged $181,078 in expenses while Republicans averaged $135,982.

Among senators, former Majority Leader Joseph Bruno topped the list with $607,231 in expenses. Bruno retired from the Senate last summer.

Maltese ranked second, with his spokeswoman, Vicki Vattimo, blaming high rent payments. The senator’s two district offices cost $3,847 and $2,375 in monthly rent.

Padavan listed monthly payments of $2,309 for the lease on his district office.

Among Golden’s expenses were travel bills ranging from $45 to $990 to handle “legislative duties in Albany.”

Golden said those bills often included meals, hotel rooms and the cost of travel to Albany.

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