Republicans Show Up Late To The Party

Members of the state Assembly’s Republican minority are calling for more oversight of big spending packages like the Buffalo Billion.

Republicans want to create a three-person board that includes the state comptroller, state attorney general and state Budget Division director to review appropriations of $1 million or more and have final approval before such money included in a state budget is actually spent. An existing board, the Public Authorities Control Board, oversees some such projects. That board, however, often serves simply as a rubber stamp, Brian Kolb, Assembly minority leader told the Albany Times Union, and “we’ve got to get out of the rubber stamp mode and into a more full review process.”

New York already has a fully staffed state Comptroller’s Office, a fully staffed Budget Division and an Authorities Budget Division. The state Senate has a standing Finance Committee while the state Assembly has a standing Ways and Means Committee and an Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee which, according to its own website, “conducts targeted program and budget reviews, both jointly with other committees and individually, pursuant to recommendations of the Speaker, the Committee Chair, individual members, other governmental sources, or the public. Projects can be short-term or in-depth, and may involve financial and historical data collection, field investigations, on-site state agency visits, and public hearings and roundtables.”

It’s nice to see state Republicans want to look after the public’s money. We wonder why they are so late to the party given the options available to them under existing committees and boards. Perhaps less grandstanding and more government oversight is in order here.