November 27, 2006

Melting slush

It looks like the keepers of the slushpork - borrowed money sent to state legislators' districts with minimal oversight or coherence - have finally surrendered to demands that they reveal what they're up to:

The disclosures will shed fuller light on what has long been a secretive process of doling out funds for pet priorities of lawmakers, which in the past has included money for cheese museums, ethnic clubs and fraternal organizations. Every year, legislators set aside money for such pork projects - $200 million in this year’s budget - in something they call the “007 fund,” a name that gives some indication of Albany’s view of disclosure.

But after a lawsuit led by The Times Union of Albany, a State Supreme Court justice ordered the Legislature last month to make the projects fully public, and the Legislature has decided not to appeal the suit to the state’s highest court.

That addresses my largest concern: that tracking these expenditures was far too difficult given their supposed public purpose. Perhaps next lawmakers can address the other huge problem this process creates: ever-growing debt.

Posted by simon at November 27, 2006 2:25 PM in
Note on photos