For the first time in two decades, New York State Lawmakers will be getting a bump in their paychecks. The state pay commission unanimously agreed it was time to give the legislature and the Governor a pay raise.
By 2021, New York will have the highest paid legislature and Governor in the country. The last time the legislature received a pay raise was 20 years ago, but now they can expect to see their wages increase from close to $80,000 to $130,000 in 2021.
The commission decided to phase in the increase to lawmaker’s salaries over the next three years.
In January of 2019, the first increase will take wages to $110,000, and then continue to rise until 2021. After three years, the Governor will be making $250,000.
The commission decided it was within their legal rights to tie this pay raise for lawmakers to a stipulation that limits outside income.
The commission is mandating that by January of 2020, any outside income that lawmakers receive would have to be less than 15 percent of their salary.
NYPIRG Director Blair Horner said this small requirement does little to address many of the ethics and corruption concerns that he and others voiced at the public hearings.
“I think it will resonate poorly.” Horner said, “We’re going to have the highest paid legislature and the highest paid Governor in the country and they didn’t tackle the root causes of corruption in New York State government. I think that’s a mistake and our reading of the law is that they have the power to take on those issues.”
Since the legislature already voted and approved the pay commission, there is no further vote needed. So this increase will take effect in January 2019.
Republican Assemblyman Chris Tague also expressed his concerns with the decision in a statement.
Statement from Assemblyman Chris Tague (R-Schoharie):
“New Yorkers pay the highest taxes and Albany is home to one of the most corrupt state governments in the country. So it makes perfect sense that Albany insiders concocted a massive pay raise for themselves, that taxpayers are on the hook for, so they can perpetuate their corrupt state government.
Where I come from, your earnings are based on work performance. In Albany, earnings are based on backroom deals by the governor and downstate majority leaders. The greedy and delusional mindset of Albany politicians will continue the downward spiral of New York State.”