Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another Reason the NY State Legislature is So Special

The Journal News again calls for equal allocation of resources for legislative staff, noting that

As it stands now, the majority party in both the state Senate and the state Assembly get far more money to spend - on office space, staff, postage stamps, mailers - than their minority-party counterparts, despite the fact that each Assembly district represents the same number of constituents, as does each Senate district.

As the paper states, this practice is unfair, not just to legislators, but to taxpayers and constituents. Just how unfair can be seen in these nifty graphs prepared by the Brennan Center.

The Journal News notes that a lawsuit to end this practice brought by Assemblyman Kirwan (R) and Senator Krueger (D) has died, and that a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Galef that would have created equity in staff budgets was bottled up in committee. The editorial ends on a sobering quote from Kirwan:

"Let's face it. Neither majority is going to give the minorities anything," Kirwan said. "If everyone got the same staff allowance, (majorities) would essentially be volunteering for dentistry to have their fangs removed."

But this begs this question -- if Congress, other state legislatures, and even the New York City Council can do it, why can't the New York State legislature?

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