An online database shows just how drastic of a decrease in state member items — commonly known as “pork-barrel spending” — are coming into the area.
The latest tally of legislative member items in the Southern Tier on the See Through NY Web site, operated by the Empire Center for Public Policy, shows a multi-million-dollar drop from a year ago. State-wide, $148.33 million was earmarked for member items, according to the Web site, and many local legislators were unable to secure as much funding this year.
State Sen. George Winner, R-Elmira — a district which covers Steuben, Schuyler, Yates, Chemung and part of Tompkins counties — saw a dramatic drop in member items. Of the member items in the budget, $250,000 were earmarked by Winner — compared to $2.1 million in the 2008-09 budget.
That drop doesn’t mean Albany officials are cracking down on spending. Instead, it’s a reflection of who is now running the show.
While Winner still remains prominent in the Republican Party in Albany, Democrats took over the state Senate in the November general election for the first time in decades. In the 2008-09 budget, the state spent $148.12 million on earmarks….