Pay raise for lawmakers may hurt local governments


Local lawmakers are spoke out after a commission decided to give the legislature and the executive branch a nearly 50% pay raise over the next three years.

Some say the average citizen isn’t getting enough out of the deal that they’ll be paying for. 

Right now lawmakers at the Capitol make about $80,000 a year. 

The commission has agreed to increase that amount, but local lawmakers say the stipulations that come with that raise will hurt local government.

The pay raise commission was worked into the state budget in the spring, but just recently met to decide to give lawmakers a financial boost, all on the backs of taxpayers.

“That’s where the money comes from.  It comes out of the wallets of every New Yorker,” said Blair Horner, from the government watchdog group NYPIRG.

Horner said there are stipulations that come with the raise.  Outside income and lawmaker stipends would both be limited.

But Horner said the commission should have taken it a step further.

“Reduce the risk of corruption in state government if there’s going to be any change in compensation,” said Horner.
Local Assembly members on both sides of the aisle say there are various problems with this pay raise. 

Assemblyman Chris Tague said the raises should be based on what lawmakers accomplish.

“I think people have to follow a certain standard to be in this position and to make that kind of money,” said Assemblyman Tague.

Assemblyman John McDonald agrees and said he holds issue with the limitation of outside income, which he believes could turn away professionals from public service in the future.

“To tell an architect or an engineer that they’re not welcome, that they have to give up their career that they worked for.  I think it’s wrong,” said Assemblyman McDonald.

Both said this isn’t something they decided to do for the money and that they would strongly consider giving their increased salary back to the communities they serve. 

The pay raises don’t stop at these chambers.  The governor and other state leaders would see a paycheck boost too.

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