New York officials approve $50K pay raise for state lawmakers

A compensation commission reportedly approved annual raises for state lawmakers in New York that could make them highest-paid state-legislators in the country.

The Times-Herald reported that the appointed panel approved a three-step pay hike for the Legislature on Thursday that will significantly increase their salaries to $110,000 in January and $120,000 in 2020 – a far cry from the Legislature’s salary increase to $79,500 that was approved in 1999.

According to the local newspaper, the move would amount to a 64 percent increase in salaries for all New York state senators and Assembly members in just over two years. 

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Those who were empaneled to serve on the committee, which was approved by the legislature and governor to review the salaries of elected officials earlier this year, were SUNY Chairman Carl McCall, CUNY Chairman Bill Thompson, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Though the committee does not have the authority to raise the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s salaries, the committee also recommended Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s salary be raised from $179,000 to $250,000 in 2021 and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s pay of $151,500 be raised to the same amount as well.

“I do think these numbers are consistent with legislators and state leaders who really are giving their all,” Stringer said, according to the local paper. He also called it “stark” that the legislators hadn’t gotten a salary increase in 20 years.

Republican Assemblyman Karl Brabenec criticized the legislative raises, however, saying in an interview with the publication that the lawmakers don’t “deserve merit pay” until they make more progress on critical issues like ethics reform and infrastructure improvements. 

“Right now, we don’t deserve merit pay,” he said.