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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Sen. LaValle foe targets his NYS mail spending

Regina Calcaterra, Democrat running against veteran state Sen. Ken LaValle, goes off on the incumbent's status as a top spender on district mail, as reported here by Gannett News Service. Her full statement:

"While New York has been careening out of fiscal control,
lawmakers have been wastefully spending millions of taxpayer dollars on
legislative mailers telling us how great they are - a practice that must be
reined in immediately, and a new proposal by Regina Calcaterra, D-New
Suffolk, a candidate for state Senate, would do just that.

"A special report by Gannett's Albany Bureau has found that lawmakers in
Albany spent $27.3 million over three years on legislative mailings, and
the biggest spender of taxpayer dollars out of all 212 legislators is Ken
LaValle, the incumbent state senator for the First Senatorial District on
Eastern Long Island. LaValle spent $357,000 over three years on mailers,
according to Gannett. (That's on top of the $1 million per year of our tax
dollars that he shelled out on office expenses for the most recent fiscal
year alone.)

"The amount that the money LaValle spent on the mailers could have:

* Paid a full-year salary for between three and five teachers in Eastern
Long Island Schools;
* Paid the salaries of five state troopers;
* Or paid a full year of tuition for 71 students at SUNY Stony Brook

"It shouldn't take a investigative report by one of the country's biggest
newspaper companies to uncover how much lawmakers spend on constituent
mail," said Calcaterra, who is running in New York's First Senatorial
District. "Every piece of mail from a New York State legislator should
contain a line that clearly identifies the exact cost of the mailer to the

"But even that's not enough," she said. "Email, websites and social
networking can clearly eliminate much, if not most, of the ridiculous cost
both parties have racked up in constituent mailing. The budget for franking
privileges should be cut to a fraction of what it is today. This abuse must
stop now."

"Calcaterra is proposing new state Senate rules that would mandate each
piece of legislative mail inform residents of the total cost of the
district mailing to taxpayers; cut the budget for mailers by 75 percent;
and ban most legislative mailings eight months before state legislative
elections - with exceptions approved only by the full state Senate in a
roll-call vote.

"Since her campaign began, Calcaterra has called for mandating accounting
reform at all state agencies and authorities, ethics reform throughout
state government including the Legislature, and for greater transparency in
all state spending. "

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