Some Nebraska state senators will go back to work with new MacBook Airs.
The government paid a discount price of $1,524 each for 70 laptops (49 of them go to lawmakers, the rest to staff), causing some to complain about expenses for “designer” computers:
Senator Tony Fulton of Lincoln questioned the purchase saying the Legislature could have managed with less than “designer laptops,” particularly during these tough economic times, according to the Omaha World Herald (The story didn’t specify which model was purchased.)
The state might have been able to buy laptops for $400 to $500 each, said Fulton, an engineer. “The decision was made with proper authority, and I’ll accept it,” he said, “but I don’t like it.”
A handful of other laptop models, in prices ranging from $1,100 to $2,200 were reviewed before deciding for the MacBook Airs. The Macs replace four-year-old Fujitsu Lifebook laptops.
Former State Sen. Pat Engel of South Sioux City was Executive Board chairman when it approved the laptop purchase last year.
“I think you can always buy something cheaper, but you get what you pay for,” said Engel. The laptops’ light weight and mobility were selling points, he noted, as was the discount.
Confession: I am not up to speed on Nebraska politics, so perhaps this is a scuffle along party lines that has little to do with laptops.
But would you expect a politician to work on a computer you wouldn’t use or should they have opted for Macs, but maybe less expensive ones?