Capital New York:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted legislative earmarks during campaigns, investigated them as attorney general and promised in 2012 that he would banish them from the state budget.
Now, he's approving them.
In the last week, leaders of the state Legislature publicly disclosed lists of earmarks they secured under the State and Municipal Facilities Program, which fiscal analysts have likened to the old “member item” program that let legislators direct money to local groups and projects at their discretion.
But unlike the past, agencies that report to Cuomo are reviewing — and signing off on — the projects before the money is released. According to critics, that means the Democratic governor is approving “pork” spending that skews to support powerful incumbents: Republicans in the state Senate and Democrats in the Assembly — even after railing against spending for “pet projects” earlier this year.