Democratic State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ Republican challenger Liam McLaughlin issued a press release today that seems to send mixed messages.
In his headline McLaughlin accuses Stewart-Cousins of collecting per diem payments while programs are cut. Then in the body of his release he claims the senator and her fellow Democrats refuse to cut “wasteful spending.”
For the record, Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, has vetoed thousands of spending projects as part of his effort to close the state’s deficit, though that hasn’t yet been achieved.
UPDATED on 4:20 p.m., July 8, 2010
McLaughlin said this afternoon that legislators should not get stipends while not getting their jobs done, namely passing a budget by April 1.
“The point is they should forgo the stipend,” McLaughlin said.
As for cutting costs, McLaughlin noted that the Democrats still haven’t cut billions from the deficit, other than programs that were dear to some homeowners.
“There is obviously a difference between cutting good projects and bad projects,” McLaughlin said. “They’ve cut good projects like the STAR property tax rebate.”
Here is McLaughlin’s release:
McLAUGHLIN: GIVE BACK THE $$ SENATOR!
$tewart-Cousins Takes Home Thousand$ While Programs Are Cut
[YONKERS, NY, July 8, 2010]- Liam McLaughlin, the conservative Republican candidate for New York State Senate (35th S. D.), today called on his opponent, liberal State Senator Andrea $tewart-Cousins to “return all per diem payments to New York State and waive any future payments she is scheduled to receive during the course of the New York State Budget crisis”.
A “per diem” is an allowance received by legislators to help defray travel, food and living expenses while the Senate is in session. It is paid in addition to their salaries at the current rate of $171 per day.
Liam McLaughlin said, “Today, I am calling on Senator Andrea $tewart-Cousins to return any per diem payments she has received since April 1, 2010 to the state coffers and waive any future payment until New York’s budget crisis is settled. Ms. $tewart-Cousin’s is currently receiving this personal perk despite the fact that she, Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger and the rest of the big spending Senate Democrats refuse to do the right thing and cut wasteful spending so that government services in New York can continue to function.
She is currently collecting $171 dollars per day on top of her already generous state salary. New Yorkers are suffering. Government workers face lay-off, critical programs for the young and the elderly are being closed down, and yet, Andrea $tewart-Cousins continues to collect her daily stipend, pumping up her take home pay by thousands of dollars over the course of 3 months the budget has been late. It’s obvious; Andrea $tewart-Cousins is as liberal with your tax dollars as she is with her politics. “