Lawmakers Should Follow Private Sector Rules For Pay Hike

A state commission will soon issue a recommendation whether or not New York’s state legislators should receive a pay raise.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently came out in favor of raises for the legislature, saying they work hard and deserve more money. By that logic, millions of New York state residents should get raises from their employers, too. Granted, most workers haven’t gone 20 years without a raise as the state’s legislators have done. Conversely, one could argue most private workers have performed better in their jobs over the last two decades and earned the raises they’ve been given.

The state Legislature’s intrasigence on issues many state residents feel strongly about is a popular reason not to shell out more money for legislative pay. The list of things the state Legislature has failed to deal with is too long to list without forgetting an item or 10, so we won’t even try to list them. Suffice it to say we’d be more amenable to paying legislators more if that list got appreciably shorter in the next two years.

We’d also be more amenable to a pay raise if the process was done the right way. It’s hilarious that the state’s Compensation Committee didn’t hold any public discussion of legislative pay raises until after the Nov. 6 election. It worked out nicely for legislators who didn’t have to knock on doors and answer constituents’ questions about why they should pay more for a legislature that can’t get anything accomplished, has seen more than its share of scandal and corruption and then wants to be paid more.

If legislators and the governor want to see legislative pay go up, they should go about it the same way working stiffs in the private sector do — do the job you’re hired to do and then to ask the people in control of the purse strings for a raise.