Libraries and volunteer fire departments.
Historical societies and theater companies.
The list of groups that were supposed to get money from the state but will not this year reads like an all-American lineup of motherhood and apple pie.
You would think the state could afford a few thousand dollars here and there for food pantries, town parks and a stick ball hall of fame out of a $132 billion state budget .
Don't you just know that, within those mega-billions of dollars, millions will be ill spent - completely wasted, to be frank. And so why not give a few thousand each to the Irish Repertory Theater and a community chorus?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed about $640,000 in 122 "member items" last week as well as seven items for school aid - all amounting to $3 million. He said he was cutting the items out of the budget because they represent new spending.
Yes, we recognize politics were at play in the governor's choices to the extent that the majority of "member items" that were vetoed were put into the budget by Senate Democrats. That just happens to be a group at sharp odds with the governor. And while there is not yet a comprehensive list of all of the pork-barrel spending in the 2,453 pages of the appropriations bills, it is safe to say that the 122 vetoed member items do not comprise the total number that are in the budget.
Even for all of the governor's political games, it is dismaying to see that state legislators continue to insert member items into the state spending plan when, no, we cannot afford it. The governor was right to veto what he did.
It is as simple as this: For as long as we continue to pretend that all is well and we have money for the good things in life, we will not gather the political will needed to push lawmakers into making the systemic changes that are so sorely needed in New York state.
Instead, from the governor on down, we continue to fool ourselves.
The new state budget holds the increase in spending to about 2 percent - a feat to celebrate, we suppose, considering the huge budget deficits in recent years. The budget does, in fact, cut costs in some areas of state government.
But the budget is a failure in other ways that will hit local property owners right in the pocketbook.
There is little relief for local governments from the costs of state mandates, for example. And no one should be taken in by the crowing we hear from Albany about how county governments will "save" money as the state pays a larger portion of the growth in Medicaid costs.
Property taxpayers will not feel one whit of relief from the already heavy Medicaid burden. The only change is that the rate at which the local cost grows is slowing down.
That's right. They are not even talking about actually reducing the burden on local taxpayers.
And so town youth court, youth baseball and soccer, and veterans groups - no, you won't be getting the money you were promised because, at least at some level of subconsciousness, we realize we just do not have it to give.