Pay Raises For State Legislators Low On Taxpayers’ Wish List
Many state legislators are sore that they didn’t get the Christmas present they wanted — a humongous pay raise — but we’re glad they had enough decency to call off their campaign for it.
You can’t force Santa Claus or your family members to give you what you want, especially if you’re asking for something huge. Every Christmas, children (and some adults) have to practice the art of sucking it up.
Until Dec. 23, New York lawmakers were pressing hard for the raise. They’ll have to wait until 2019 since lawmakers’ pay cannot be increased during the two-year term to which they were just elected.
That meant they wanted to convene in Albany for a special session last week, but that couldn’t happen unless Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for it. Seeing an opportunity to squeeze them, he said he’d only call a special session if lawmakers agreed to pass things he wants, including ethics reforms for themselves that include a ban on them receiving income outside of their elected jobs.
Many of them didn’t like those kind of conditions. They accused the governor of making the pay raise issue “political” — as if this kind of thing could not be.
Finally, at about 10:30 p.m. Dec. 23, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan announced that talks had fallen through and that the Legislature would not convene until its regularly scheduled time in January.
Really, this should have been a non-issue. Lawmakers shouldn’t get any kind of raise, especially the 47 percent one they asked for. Even though they haven’t had a raise since 1999, they still make more than all but two other states’ legislators and way more than the average worker in New York. Plus, they’re not exactly on Santa Taxpayer’s “nice” list, given that dozens of legislators have been convicted of felony corruption crimes in recent years — including the heads of both legislative houses last year.
We’re glad they let the issue drop, and we hope they enjoyed the holiday weekend with their families without the stress of a looming special session hanging over their heads.