In the six months before last November’s elections, state lawmakers spent $7.1 million on mail to constituents, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reports today. That was 5 percent more than the previous six months, the bureau’s review of state records found. All 212 legislative seats were up for election in 2012.
The parties in power in the Senate and Assembly spent the most money. In the Senate, which was controlled by the GOP last term, Republicans spent $2.7 million during the six-month period and Democrats spent $1.4 million. The two parties have a power-sharing agreement in the Senate this year.
In the Assembly, which Democrats control, Democrats spent $2 million on mailings and Republicans spent almost $1 million.
Total spending was lower than it was before the 2010 elections. Lawmakers spent about $7.8 million then, $700,000 more than in 2012.
Senators get $10,800 for first-class mail and $21,000 for bulk mail. They also get funding for newsletters, and the amount depends on the district size. Majority-party senators each get an additional $52,000 annually.
Sen. William Larkin, R-New Windsor, Orange County, (pictured at right) spent the second most at $226,000. Much of Larkin’s mail costs came in late 2011 after tropical storms Irene and Lee hit his district, and he said last year he needed to send out information about relief efforts.
Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, (pictured above) ranked 21st. He spent nearly $17,000 less over the past six months than he did the prior six months, records show.