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DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014

State Lawmakers Seeking Pay Raise, Should Get Pay Cut

December 16, 2014

They're doing such a great job keeping New York State the highest taxed, least business friendly and fastest shrinking state in the nation that Albany lawmakers are now negotiating with the governor to give themselves a pay raise.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he might agree if lawmakers adopt certain ethics reforms.

Legislators receive a base salary of $79,500 a year for their six-month job, plus $172 per day whenever they set foot in Albany. Many get bonuses for holding leadership posts that can make their total pay $120,000 a year or more.

Only California and Pennsylvania pay their legislators a higher salary. Both of those states have full-time legislatures. In neighboring states the pay is less — $28,000 a year for Connecticut's legislators and $49,000 a year in New Jersey.

The governor told leaders of the Senate and Assembly that he would like new restrictions on legislators' personal use of campaign funds and on the $172-per-day stipends they receive when in Albany. More significantly, the governor suggested a limit on the amount lawmakers can earn from outside jobs, a probable deal killer since many legislators earn sizable sums working at private law firms where influence may be sought and purchased.

Lawyer-lawmakers do not have to disclose their clients.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reported earning $650,000 to $750,000 in 2013 from his law firm. It is not known who his clients are. Senate leader Dean Skelos, reported outside law income of between $150,000 to $250,000 last year; how he made that money is secret.

The Republican leaders of the Senate support a raise, as does Assembly Speaker Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, who faces little pressure from his bizarre and non descript cult of liberal New York City members, where cost of living is high. Silver and other top earning legislators will presumably not capitulate to outside income limits, or a requirement that lawyers reveal conflicts of interest.

Under the State Constitution, lawmakers cannot raise their salaries during the term in which they are elected; if they do not approve a greedy raise this month, they will have to wait two years.

A pay increase would be the first for members of the legislature since 1999.

In the name of income equality that Obama and Democrats are so fond of squealing about, since the average New Yorker is earning $39,000 at his or her job, it seems to us that part-time state lawmakers - at least the Democrats - should volunteer to take a $40,000 cut in pay. When the average worker in New York earns more, then, and not until then, would we support a pay hike for what is probably the most corrupt and self-serving bunch of scoundrels in the galaxy. Even in socialism, you try not to reward poor performance.





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