FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Members of the state Senate Majority spent an average of 62 percent more on their legislative offices than Minority party members during the six months ending March 31, while Assembly Majority members spent 33 percent more than Minority members during the same period, according to a new searchable database of legislative expenditure reports posted today at SeeThroughNY.net.
The data show the 32 Senate Republicans spent an average of $445,904 and the 30 Senate Democrats spent average of $274,316 on staff, rent, travel, telephone service, office supplies and other expenditures. The average for all 62 senators was $ 362,877. (The Democratic average includes Senator Carl Kruger, a Democrat, who often votes with Republicans. He ranks eighth in Senate expenditures.)
In the 150-member Assembly, where Democrats hold a 108-42 edge, the average Democratic member spent $181,078 while the average Assembly Republican spent $135,982. The average for all Assembly members was $168,534.
Topping the Senate expenditure list for the period was former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick), who spent $ 607,232. The Assembly’s top spender was Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) at $402,776. Office expenditure rankings for entire Legislature can be found here. Spending figures for to member offices do not include added staff assigned to legislators who chair committees. Also not included are member items, or pork barrel projects, which can be viewed on SeeThroughNY.net under “Community Projects Spending.”
Roughly $48 million of the $110.7 million spent by the Legislature during the period was allocated to individual member offices. The other $63 million was spent on committee and central operations including telephones, print shops, TV and radio studios and other items. The Legislature’s 2008-09 budget is $219 million.
The Senate and Assembly publish their expenditures twice a year in printed books, which are not widely distributed and lack a table of contents or index. The Empire Center reformatted the reports so that taxpayers can review the expenditures in a searchable form that can be downloaded to spreadsheets.
The Empire Center, a non-partisan, independent think tank, launched SeeThroughNY.net July 31. The site also offers searchable databases of the state payroll and a number of public authorities. In addition, it features teacher union and school superintendent contracts of the 733 school districts across the state.