Ball Breaks Out Oversized Check For Pork; Cuomo Vetoes (Updated)

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Whoops!

Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, held an event last month in which he presented an oversized $18,000 check to American Legion Post 274 in Peekskill. The money was intended to fund much-needed repairs in the post’s headquarters, where pieces of plywood currently cover portions of the floor that fell into disrepair, according to Brendon Fitzgerald, the post’s vice commander.

There’s only one problem: The pork was premature. The grant appears to have been a repurposed member item in the newly passed state budget, and it was vetoed today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“It was to help keep our post up and running,” Fitzgerald said today. “We have major problems with the structure, and that money was going to repair the post and keep it up and running.”

Messages left for Ball and his office weren’t returned as of 7 p.m. Jim Coleman, Ball’s chief of staff, issued this statement late Wednesday:

“These were not new dollars. These unencumbered dollars are from a previous budget cycle, literally years back, representing funds redistributed from original Leibell grants. While it is unfortunate the Governor vetoed them in this budget, we feel confident we can correct the misunderstanding and still deliver for this important community organization.”

Cuomo vetoed 122 member items within the budget. At a news conference in Schoharie County, Cuomo said they were vetoed because he considered them “new” member items. The grants had been destined for other organizations in previous budgets, but were repurposed for different groups in the newly passed budget.

“Now, the Legislature will say this is money that was previously appropriated to other items that they are reprogramming to new items, so they’re not really new,” Cuomo said. “I consider them new. I understand their argument, but I consider them new.”

A spokesman for Senate Republicans said the pork spending in the budget wasn’t new.

“Consistent with our efforts to control spending and taxes, and turn New York’s economy around, there are no new member items in this year’s budget,” said Scott Reif, the spokesman.

UPDATE: Ball is scheduled to present a $90,000 check to Mahopac High School on Friday to help build a new weight room and pay for a senior citizens prom. It wasn’t immediately clear what part of the budget the funding was coming from, but it didn’t appear to be among Cuomo’s vetoes from today.

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10 Comments

  1. “No pork!” is typical Republican rhetoric, until they hand it out in the form of over-sized cardboard checks.

  2. There ALLl the same up there. Ball pretends he’s Superman, calls a press conference to deliver an $18,000 check to some fraternity, every Senator and Assemblyperson does the same thing all over the State, only usually much larger, and it’s all added up and tacked on to MY State tax bill.

  3. westchester10 on

    Coleman’s quote (Ball’s Chief of Staff) makes this much worse. He admits the big check that Ball handed out “were not new dollars” and were from Liebell…. if that’s true why did Ball show up with the big check and say “I could not stand by and watch them loose their historic headquarters”???

  4. Ball will love the attention this veto gives him….so when it is finally approved to hand out the money, he will say, he and only he fought the system to give the taxpayer dollars back to the people. blah..blah..blah

  5. Committee MUST support Ball on

    looks like all the disappointed and ravaged Leibell supporters are up early today!

  6. @Committee MUST support Ball — when you will Ball fanboys realize that you don’t have to be a Vinnie supporter to hate Ball? There are lots more people out there who love seeing stuff like this and look forward to more of it.

  7. Committee MUST support Ball on

    looks like all the ravaged Leibell diehards are taking their coffeebreaks to post on Lohud!

  8. Spend and Spend Ball on

    Ball is spending Liebells money and taking credit for it. That is very funny.