While voting to artificially inflate the costs of public works projects, including those related to Hurricane Sandy recovery, Trenton Democrats refused attempts by Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon to protect Sandy victims from paying too much for too little work. Trenton Democrats approved legislation that would expand the use of project labor agreements, which have been determined to increase costs by as much as 34 percent according to research groups and administrations of both political parties. “Christmas is over, yet the season of giving continues as the Assembly Democrats voted to legally sanction government gifts of public dollars to select political donors,” O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, said. “By all accounts, these mandates increase construction costs for taxpayers. This means the people who have already been victimized by Sandy, would be victimized again by being forced to pay more to get less work done.” Assembly Democrats rejected proposals that would prohibit political donors from receiving contracts and another that would require entities to disclose political contributions if they receive a public works contract. “Not only are they saying it’s OK for their allies to pay off politicians in exchange for lucrative work, they’re also saying it’s OK to hide the fact,” O’Scanlon said. “This is a whole new level of arrogance, which should lead to a whole new level of outrage at the Assembly Democrats’ agenda.” “Assembly Democrats have claimed to be champions of government transparency. My colleague Budget Chairman Prieto, once said, ‘Transparency when it comes to the status of taxpayer money is always a good thing,’” O’Scanlon added. “I guess transparency is good except for your own political allies.” Cleary Transparent (in their words) • Assemblyman Vincent Prieto. Press release, June 25, 2012 Improved disclosure and transparency can only help the taxpayers… That’s something everyone who supports open government should support without a pause. Transparency when it comes to the status of taxpayer money is always a good thing. • Assemblyman Peter Barnes. Press release. Jan. 14, 2013 Disclosure is always the best way to ensure good government. • Assemblyman Timothy Eustace. Press release. Oct. 10, 2012 Increased transparency when it comes to corporate political activity has never been more important, so let’s shine a light as much as possible on corporate political donations. • Prieto. Press release. Dec. 14, 2012. Transparency is always a good thing, so requiring disclosure is the proper course. ####