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State agency expands its mission to include Christmas gift ideas

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas? It might not occur to you to think of state government as a resource.

But the Department of Labor has your back. For candy lovers: How about Jelly Bellies or Laffy Taffy? The agency has a thought or two about beauty products: What stocking is complete without Old Spice or Chapstick?

The agency that administers state labor laws even offers ideas for games for your friends and family: Chutes and Ladders, Risk and Sorry. For the sports fan, the agency prefers Wilson brand footballs and basketballs.

It’s all in the union-made spirit, the agency pointed out on its official, taxpayer-funded Twitter handle. It thanked the state AFL-CIO for helping compile a list of union-made consumer goods. “Here are some additional union-made gifts to add to your holiday wish list!” the agency wrote, exclamation point and all.

The agency has its critics who long have called it anti-business. The Empire Center, a fiscal watchdog group, noted a state agency was pushing products made outside New York.

“A holiday gift-buying guide from the state Labor Department?" asked a puzzled Empire Center's E.J. McMahon. "Next, we'll be getting fashion tips from the State Police and interior decorating advice from the state corrections department.''

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