State lawmakers could be getting first raises in nearly two decades

(File photo)

Albany, N.Y./Rochester, N.Y. – For the first time in 20 years, big pay raises could be on the way for New York lawmakers.

The raise would come in three installments, spread out over three years. That is all but certain at this point – unless lawmakers disagree.

A compensation committee voted Thursday night to have their pay go up to $110,000 next year – and then $10,000 for the next two years.

Local lawmakers, like Republican Senator Joe Robach, do not support it.

“This is certainly a different process than had been previously used for changes to legislative pay,” he said. “However, if this was brought to the floor for a vote, I would vote no.”

The pay hike doesn’t come without a cost. Lawmakers must limit their outside income to 15 percent of their public salary. Additionally, stipends for special assignments are gone for all but a few.

Assemblyman Harry Bronson agrees with these stipulations.

“Accompanying these recommended increases are long-awaited reforms the Assembly has fought for, including limiting the outside income,” he said. “I support these reforms.”

Meanwhile, local taxpayers are divided.

“I think 20 years is a damn long time to not have a raise,” said Carol Curtiss of Gates. “I would have complained.”

Curtiss says local lawmakers have done good work and deserve it – but Penfield’s Margo Hunt says that money could be better spent elsewhere.

“I’d like to believe it of all our officials, that they’re in it because they believe in what they’re doing,” she said. “Whether I believe in it, whether you believe in it, I hope their heart is in their work, and that it’s not about pay raises.”

Governor Cuomo could also see a pay increase, but that is something that would ultimately be decided on by lawmakers.

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