Something to contemplate in the face of news the state is now facing a $12.5 billion deficit next year ...
Many state 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 offices, and another 20 people and $1.3 million in something called the "Senate Communications/Director's Office." The boss, John McArdle, made $180,000 last year. Plus a state car.
That's just the beginning.
The Senate employs no fewer than seven photographers, including four full-timers, who make up to $42,600. I can't imagine there's enough work to keep them busy during the session, much less the other seven or eight months of the year.
The Assembly, not to be undone, has a "Radio/TV and Photography" department. Two of them, actually, one for the Democrats, another for the Republicans. They employ only one photographer, but 26 other people, at a cost of $1.5 million last budget year. Among the job titles: Reporter.
I think not.
Add up all the assorted PR functions and you have 87.5 jobs and $5.3 million in spending on the Senate side and 106.5 jobs and $5.5 million in the Assembly.
But wait, there's more.
We've also got 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 indirect spending, not included in the expenses allocated to individual legislators, averages up to $155,000 per senator and $90,000 per Assembly member. It's little wonder why more than 95 percent of incumbents win re-election.