Monday, November 9, 2009

A Capital Idea To Trim Down The New York State Budget

This past weekend I went on a tour of the New York State Capitol Building. It was sickening to hear about how much the project cost and how much money is poured into this building on a regular basis. For example, they recently spent two years converting two elevators from manual to automatic - $2 million down the drain.

The Senate's Chamber had glaring examples of both waste and common sense that can take place by our elected officials. The waste was obvious with the 23 carat gold leaf walls. I don't know how much money the melted down gold would sell for, but go ahead and put it toward the deficit. Remember that gold is at record highs (at least that's what the commercials are telling me). After I did some further reading, it appears that there is some of this gold leaf in the Executive Chamber as well - rip it all down!

The refreshing example came from the days of Teddy Roosevelt. There were sculpted flowers that were chiseled into the side of the room. There was a section that was only half finished, and there is good reason for it. Teddy had decided that this project was costing too much money and declared that the room was officially completed and no more work was to be done. If only the recent people in Albany had the same fiscal responsibility, we wouldn't have the mess that we do today. Pataki is to blame as well for all of his projects around the Capitol which added up to hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money.

The Flag Room seems to be a pretty well known room in the Capitol. I was delighted to hear that they are restoring hundreds (possibly up to a thousand) flags dating back to the Civil War for a price tag of $50,000 a flag! I'm all for historic preservation, but is it worth cutting the education budget, or forcing people to buy new license plates, or adding a deposit to water bottles, etc?!

In the end, I did enjoy the tour and learning about the history and the architecture of the Capitol, although I left feeling annoyed by the wasted money. I would like to see some type of investigation on Capitol specific expenses and how these can be minimized. If such a report exists (digitally) I would be interested to see it.

1 comment:

  1. That is a great example of some of the core issues that face our state. "Our" elected officials are out of touch with the core issues that actually need to be addressed, and instead cater to themselves and every single special interest that approaches them.

    It actually makes me sick.