New York’s state legislators have a long history of lavish pork-barrel spending. Much of this spending comes in the form of appropriations known as “member items” — operating grants to local community groups, labor unions and advocacy organizations. But while individual senators and Assembly members are willing to selectively publicize the nature and purpose of their own pet projects, the Legislature as a whole has tried to keep much of the budgeting process for the member items under wraps.
As part of its continuing effort to promote greater public and media scrutiny of pork-barrel spendint, the Empire Center has posted a searchable database of member items from the 2009-10 and 2208-09 budgets at SeeThroughNY, here. The center also posted an online list of member items approved in the 2007-08 budget on this page. (A week after the Empire Center posting for 07-08, the state Assembly released its officials pork list. Details can be found here.) In 2006, the Empire Center obtained and made public the official listings of the three years’ worth of member item appropriations from 2003, 2004, and 2005. The links to those member items can be found here.