Make Pension Forfeiture Part Of State Budget

Crime doesn’t pay – except for the state Legislature’s convicted felons.

Disgraced Dean Skelos, the former Senate majority leader found guilty of corruption, collects a $96,000 annual pension. Fellow convict Sheldon Silver bags $79,000.

Albany’s cesspool status hasn’t changed. The high-profile Skelos and Silver remain the most notable trophies hanging above U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s fireplace, but several state lawmakers share the infamy. Three dozen legislators have resigned on ethical misconduct allegations or criminal charges in just 15 years.

With two former members of the three-men-in-a-room club on their way to prison, the ethics-reform train needs to finally leave the station. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly fought for pension forfeiture following corruption convictions. However, we remain skeptical of the governor’s calls for ethics reforms, particularly given the Moreland Commission embarrassment. Cuomo allegedly interfered with the anti-corruption group and steered it away from investigating his office.

The governor has thrown serious weight behind paid family leave and a drastic minimum wage hike. Those issues take focus off Albany’s most pressing matter: ethics reform. Any budget passed without pension forfeiture will have failed the people of New York.