State Lawmakers From Brooklyn Have Concerns About Coming Pay Raises

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State lawmakers representing Brooklyn expressed everything from deplorable disgust to reluctant agreement at the New York State Compensation Committee approving raising their pay for the first time in 20 years.

Under the new guidelines, the new salaries break down thusly:

  • Assembly & Senate Members – From $79,500 to $130,000
  • Governor – From $178,000 to $250,000
  • Lieutenant Governor – From $151,000 to $225,000
  • Comptroller – From $151,000 to $220,000

If ultimately approved, the Legislature’s pay will increase to $110,000 in the New Year. It will climb $10,000 every year until reaching $130,000 in 2021. However, the raises after this New Year will be tied to the legislature passing a budget on time.

At the same time, the compensation commission backed limits to how much lawmakers can earn in the private sector, placing a cap of 15 percent of their public salary of active income and not passive income such as investment holdings and rental properties. The commission also backed ending stipends or “lulus” for most leadership and committee head positions in the state Assembly and Senate.

The outside income limit would take effect at the start of 2020.

The commission is made up of current City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former City Comptroller William Thompson, Jr., current State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall. DiNapoli recused himself on weighing in on the raise for his office.

But some of the state lawmakers, all of who wanted to speak on background were less than happy with the plan.

“To me this proposal by the pay commission is dishonorable, despicable, hypocritical and could be unconstitutional to tie our hands to pass an on time budget for being borderline coercive,” said one assembly member.

“No one else in the executive branch will have their pay raise affiliated with us passing a on time budget. This circumvents our ability to advocate and negotiate on behalf of the people we represent. It puts us in a conundrum. Don’t pass a on time budget and you don’t get your raise. Pass it on time and you’ll get your raise but it might hurt your district,” the lawmaker added.

Another lawmaker complained about losing stipends to head committees. “Heading a committee takes a lot of extra time, and in many cases travel where we have to spend more time away from our home and family,” said the lawmaker.

Another state legislator said they believe the position, which is currently considered part-time should be considered full-time because of the hours and travel they put in.

“The recommendations from the committee were spot on in banning outside income and lulus, but the pay scale should have had parity with the city council’s pay scale,” said the lawmaker, noting city council members get $148,500 annually. “We should make at least the same as the city council. Our state budget is twice the size of the city budget and there is a lot more travel involved in going back and forth from Albany, and in some cases around the state.”

The lawmaker noted that the state has more than twice the population of New York City, and in terms of operations it controls many more facets of government.The state has supremacy and the city is a creature of the state, said the lawmaker.

“If we do not bring parity and equity to state and local elected officials pay, we will continue to disincentive the good, smart and hard-working people to want to go to Albany, and there will continue to be a brain drain from the state,” said the lawmaker.

The commission is expected to make all their findings final and public next week.

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