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Cuomo Breaks Out Veto Pen For Pork | News

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Cuomo Breaks Out Veto Pen For Pork
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By JON CAMPBELL
Albany Bureau

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he will veto 129 lines within the state's newly passed budget, most of which will axe spending that Cuomo said resembles "new member items."

In a radio interview Wednesday, Cuomo said the member-item vetoes add up to about $640,000 in spending within the $132.6 billion budget. The other seven vetoes will go to correct "mistakes or technical omissions" within the voluminous budget documents, Cuomo said.

"These are member items that (the Legislature) added to the budget," Cuomo said on Talk 1300-AM (WGDJ) in Albany.
Member items, known as "pork-barrel" spending, are grants distributed by individual lawmakers to non-profit groups within their district. The past three state budgets have not included new funds for member items, but the budgets have continued grants that were previously promised.

Cuomo said his vetoes would put a stop to previous grants that were repurposed by the Legislature for new projects. His office said a list of the vetoes will be made available Wednesday afternoon.

"I understand the concept that there were past dollars allocated to member items by past governors in past budget agreements, and that is what it is," Cuomo said. "I believe these are new member items, however."

Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said the governor's vetoes affect 13 Assembly grants totaling $55,000. A spokesman for the Republican majority in the Senate had no immediate comment.

Wednesday marks the last day Cuomo can veto individual line items within certain portions of the budget, which was passed by lawmakers on March 30 and took effect April 1.

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