The life of an American politician seems a lot like college—the fraternities are disgusting, there's a lot of immature sex talk, and no one shows up to class unless there's a test. So it makes sense, then, that budget-conscious New York lawmakers band together to fund a dorm in Albany for their visits to the Capitol—a move one Long Island Senator has proposed to help lawmakers maximize their $172 per diems.
The bill, proposed by Republican Senator Phil Boyle, has been kicking around since June; it "authorizes the creation of a legislative dormitory facility; decreases legislative per diems" and would appropriate $9 million in funds to create. Boyle told the Times that the dorm would end up saving taxpayers per-diem funds in the long run, plus it's always fun to fight over who gets to use the illegal hot plate next: "“Anyone who’s been to college and lived in a dorm knows sometimes good ideas come out of just sitting around the lobby or the television room,” he said.
When New York legislators come to the Capitol, they get $111 for lodging and $61 for food per day; they get to keep the rest of the tax-free cash if they don't spend it, so plenty of lawmakers take the opportunity to cut down on their lodging fees, staying in roadside motels and Holiday Inn Expresses instead of more extravagant rooms. Not that there hasn't been a fair amount of suspected cheating when it comes to per diems—yesterday, Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough was questioned by FBI agents after it was believed he'd been accepting per diems on days when he was not in Albany.
Scarborough, a Democrat, has not been accused of a crime as of yet, though he is reportedly one of the top per diem-users in the state. And Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., who was convicted on corruption charges earlier this month, was accused of charging for travel expenses while not in Albany.
And so enters the dorm proposal, which would be "clean and comfortable but not extravagant," much like the cinderblock walled cell you eventually peed all over in an Everclear-induced haze freshman year. Though there's no word yet on if/when Boyle Hall will become a reality, it's only a matter of time before a pilot script for Undeclared: The Senate Years ends up on Judd Apatow's table.