Senate Republicans approve $10 million in bullet aid
On Tuesday night, Senate Republicans approved close to $10 million worth of bullet aid for districts represented by members of their majority conference. Our Nick Reisman has more on how districts represented by a Democratic senator were left without a dime.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Senate Democrats are crying foul after Republicans in the chamber pushed through a resolution approving $9.9 million in discretionary school funds known as bullet aid and what critics have derided as legislative pork.
Senator Daniel Squadron said, "It didn't just lack transparency; it also was completely a partisan giveaway."
The money distributed by the resolution is being steered to school districts represented by Republican senators, but in a testy exchange on the Senate floor Tuesday evening, Senate Finance Chairman John DeFrancisco noted Democrats did the same thing when they were in power for a brief two-year term.
"Do you feel remorse?" asked Senator Ruben Diaz.
Senator DeFrancisco responded, "I feel as much remorse now as you felt when you delivered all your school aid discretionary funds to your districts when you were in the majority. That's how much remorse I feel."
Not so, says Senator Liz Krueger, who notes that bullet aid distribution under Democrats was spread out across the state.
She said, "Our bullet aid when we were in the majority actually went to other areas of the state, not New York City."
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, whose hometown school district of Rockville Centre on Long Island received $75,000 in funds, said the money was needed to help close possible gaps in school districts' budgets.
"This is to help school districts," said Skelos. "Our school aid formula is not perfect, and it's really an opportunity to plug perhaps some of the inequities that have occurred in some of the other school districts."
Democrats who control the state Assembly also have an additional $16 million pot of bullet aid they can distribute to school districts well.