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More on our free spending state legislators

My story in Thursday's News detailed how state legislators spend big money to operate their offices. That's just the half of it.

Legislators also also spend considerable sums for central operations, some of it for legit purposes such as staffing committees, some of it aimed at garnering favorable publicity for themselves.

Many senators, and some Assembly members, have a press spokesman on their office staff. In
addition, the Senate spent $1 million last budget year to employ 15 in its central press office.

And, both chambers also operate a variety of "communication" services. They employ web site designers, graphic artists, photographers, television producers, event coordinators and the like.

Coupled with central press operations, these services involved 87.5 jobs and $5.3 million in spending on the Senate side and 106.5 jobs and $5.5 million in the Assembly, according to News calculations.

Then there are mail and printing services, which produce and mail newsletters for legislators among a wider range of activities. The Senate operation employed 55.5 workers last year and spent $5.4 million. The Assembly had a staff of 66 and spent $8 million.

This kind of spending is one of the reasons why the Legislature spends more than $200 million a year on itself. The Empire Center For New York State Policy found spending averaged $973,900 per member in 2005, vs. a national average of $347,667.

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State government
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