State Legislature Pay Raise Bills Introduced; Special Session Possible This Week
State lawmakers could get a $30,000 raise during a special vote that could take place later this week.
Legislation was introduced late Monday, though the legislative memorandum was not available to the public to see on the Assembly and Senate websites as of Tuesday morning. Text of the legislation shows an increase in salary to $142,000 a year and a limit on outside income for legislators.
“The Democrat majorities in the state Legislature are considering authorizing a big Christmas gift for themselves in the form of a $20,000 pay raise,” said Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay. “I am strongly opposed to this, especially after coming off more than two years of so many of my colleagues treating it as a six-figure no-show job. The halls of Albany were largely empty under the pandemic rules that allowed them to not show up in Albany and still vote. Even worse, the raise would be accompanied by a ban on legislators’ ability to earn outside income which would only guarantee that our Legislature would be totally dominated by professional politicians – people who live in a political ‘bubble’ and have no idea what it’s like to run a farm, operate a business or practice a trade or profession. We need more legislators with real world experience, not less. This is a terrible and tone-deaf proposal and one that I will vehemently oppose if it moves forward.”
Starting Jan. 1, 2025, legislators’ outside income would be no more than the earning limitations for retired people in public service positions. There are several exemptions to the outside income limitations, including salary, benefits and allowances paid by the state, income and allowances for service in the armed forces, National Guard or other active military service; copyright royalties, fees or other intellectual property right payments; income from public or private retirement plans; investment and capital gains income where the legislator’s services aren’t related to the production of the income; income from a trade or business in which a legislator’s family holds a controlling interest and in which the legislator’s services aren’t involved in making money; or compensation for services provided before Jan. 1, 2025, or the legislator’s swearing in to the legislature.
The legislature could vote as early as Thursday given the introduction of the legislation on Monday. A message of necessity from Gov. Kathy Hochul won’t be necessary.
Spectrum News’ Nick Reisman is reporting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office had asked legislators to consider changes to cash bail requirements during the special session, but that proposal was rejected.
The Empire Center for New York State Policy reported Tuesday a pay raise for legislators would make New York’s legislature the highest paid in the country. California legislators are paid $122,694. Neighboring New Jersey’s legislators are paid $49,000 a year, according to the Empire Center, while Connecticut’s lawmakers are paid $45,000.
“We should definitely be voting on repealing bail reform as part of this,” Borrello said when asked by The Post-Journal. “She can certainly make things tough on the Democrats and she should. But obviously she’s chosen to acquiesce and not put the safety of New Yorkers first and foremost.”