State residents who pay close attention to how Albany operates should be familiar by now with the names of the elected officials who decide how their money gets spent. But if they really want to understand, they should get to know SAM. Read More
The Empire Center, a government watchdog group in Albany, calls it the “biggest, murkiest, pork-barrel slush fund Albany (and perhaps any state capital) has ever seen.” The allocation is slipped into the state budget without any explanation from legislative leaders and the governor. Read More
A $500,000 grant to support a solar-powered carousel in Buffalo—raising that project’s total taxpayer subsidy to more than $1 million—was among the 1,782 local pork barrel projects awarded grants by state lawmakers in the final hours of their 2017 regular session. Read More
The only reason many of these broader details are known is because the Empire Center filed an open records request in June seeking information as to where all the money has gone. The think tank recently posted on its website, SeeThroughNY.net, a database of the nearly 6,000 projects. Read More
The Empire Center, an Albany-based think tank, has probed the state for SAM grant information since last year and compiled a searchable database of 915 grants totaling $286 million. After adding its latest trove, the organization lambasted officials in May for spending borrowed money on "local political interests instead of state needs," listing $300,000 in grants for skateboard parks in Newburgh and two other places as one of its examples. Read More
Senate last week quietly passed a handful of spending measures that steered $56 million to 1,675 pet projects across the state, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy. The measures did not identify the individual lawmaker that requested the money and they provided few details about how the funds are to be used, according to the Empire Center’s report. Read More
Resolutions passed by state lawmakers in the final hours of the legislative session steered a total of $56 million to 1,675 pet projects across the state, according to data added today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Read More
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