Do Senators Need MacBook Airs?

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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?

Photo courtesy Omaha World Herald. 

Via TMC

17 responses to “Do Senators Need MacBook Airs?”

  1. Rey says:

    NO. not on the public dollar. they can use a $999 macbook at most, and only if they get training for it at the apple store.

  2. Rey says:

    NO. not on the public dollar. they can use a $999 macbook at most, and only if they get training for it at the apple store.

  3. Peruchito says:

    i concur with the guy above. what’s wrong with the macbook for them?

  4. Matt says:

    They didn’t need new laptops, I’m sure that about 99% of them never used anything other than email, a browser, and MS Word on their old ones.

  5. imajoebob says:

    Their Fujitsus – which have never been bargain basement models – lasted 4 years. These will easily last 4 years. The trash $500 models will be fortunate to make it through two years of full time use.

    On the other hand, I can’t really figure out what spec the AirBook meets that the MacBook doesn’t, except weight. As we all know, the MacBook is easily a better all-around computer, especially for the price. Probably pound for pound, too.

    Considering this is politics, I’ll bet somebody had their eye on a nice new AirBook, and made sure the specs were favorable to their chosen model.

  6. IX says:

    They’re probably all still sore from the totally bungled child safe haven law.

    As a Nebraskan, born and raised, I am happy our unicameral decided on Macs.

  7. JM says:

    Nice that they decided to get good machines, but like the above commenters, I wonder why they went with the Air. The regular MB is just as mobile and a lot cheaper.

  8. Dann says:

    Aid: “Sir, the complete report from the budget committee is available for you, burned on this here CD-R.”

    Senator: “…****”

  9. MFG says:

    (In re the photo)

    Ethernet dongle in the chamber? Really? You’re doing it wrong.