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New York lawmakers looking at a potential pay raise

April 12, 2018 11:40 PM

A potential pay raise is back on the table for New York state lawmakers.

Two years ago, a state commission was created to explore raising lawmakers base salary of $79,500.

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It didn't recommend a pay raise.

So now, tucked in this year's budget lawmakers created another commission.          

Twelve months of work in 2016 by the pay raise commission ended with no recommendation, which meant no raise for lawmakers.

Fran Reiter, a former member at the Legislative Pay Raise Commission said, "absent the willingness of the legislature to contribute meaningful insight for our consideration.  I do not see how the commission has the basis to counter the overwhelming public sentiment objecting to such increases."

Public opinion was clearer.  During 2016, News10NBC surveyed more than 2,000 tax-payers, 60% of them said lawmakers should get 'no raise'. 

At the time, Governor Cuomo agreed saying, "those lawmakers that say, 'well the committee should act despite the overwhelming sentiment of the people of this state.'  How absurd a proposition?"

A pay raise may be coming one year later.

In this year's budget, part HHH on page 156 of the revenue bill establishes a brand new committee.

Blair Horner at NYPIRG, a government watch-dog, has some concerns.

"So the question is what is the correct compensation and that compensation we think should be determined by the people independent of the power of the people getting the raise."

This new commission will be made up of five members, headed by the Chief Judge of New York Janet Difiore.

It will also be including State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli, Scott Stringer, New York City's Comptroller, Suny Chairman Carl McCall and CUNY Chairman William Thompson.

Three of which were appointed to their position by Governor Cuomo.    

Horner explained, "by setting up a system where the majority of the appointees are appointed by people that benefit from the decision creates cynicism among the members of the public that this is the right process." 
 

New York state lawmakers are currently the 3rd highest paid in the country at $79,500, but haven't received a raise since 1999.  California is the highest at just over $107,000 per year.

The board will be required to hold at least one public hearing. 

Horner says law-makers need to address corruption concerns to make a pay raise reasonable in the public eye. "The public, I think has a right to be unhappy if the one thing that comes out of the process after all of these unprecedented scandals is a pay raise."

The committee's recommendation are due in December,  a month after the election, and would become law, unless rejected by the lawmakers themselves.

News10NBC will continue to monitor the work of this committee and bring you any updates, including when that public hearing will be.

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