New York Post
Pork by Any Other Name
For all the years of scandal to rock Albany, one truth remains absolute: Never expect a legislative leader to apologize for pork. Carl Heastie may have become speaker after a corruption scandal felled Shelly Silver, but he’s singing the virtues of bacon.
That includes the $1.1 billion in Albany’s latest version of nowbanned earmarks, the State and Municipal Facilities Program, whose first list of outlays was only recently unveiled — three years into the SAM program.
“If you want to call putting security cameras in a housing development that has a lot of crime pork, so be it,” Heastie said last week. “Give me another ham sandwich.”
Added state Senate GOP boss John Flanagan: “If this is pork, I can live with that,” calling it all “investments.”
It still reeks. The old earmark system — which thenAttorney General Andrew Cuomo called Albany’s “silent conspiracy” — also largely went to worthy community projects.
But the new pork, like the old, gets doled out on the basis of politics — the party that controls each chamber gets nearly all the dough. (In the Senate, the GOP sent a healthy slice to its partners in the Independent Democratic Conference.)
And as E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center (whose Freedom of Information request uncovered the spending list) notes, the SAM cash was borrowed by the state, which now wants to raise its debt load still further to pay for its share of the MTA capital budget.
Says McMahon: “It’s really indefensible to borrow $1.1 billion for capital porkbarrel projects.”
Call it “investments”; doesn’t matter. However much lipstick Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature smear on this pig, it still oinks.