NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They already make more money then lawmakers in 47 other states. And now New York State’s part-time legislators are reportedly trying to give themselves a big raise.
It’s the secret deal that nobody wants to really talk about until after the November elections — raising lawmakers’ salaries to $100,000 or more, which would make them the highest paid legislators in the nation.
Sources told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer on Monday the plan is not to vote the pay hike until after the elections, so it doesn’t hurt incumbents in tight races.
“The smartest political move of all is not to do a pay raise until after the November elections, which is exactly what they’re going to do here. You can’t beat somebody up with something that hasn’t happened yet,” political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said.
Albany senators and assemblymen haven’t had their pay for part-time jobs raised since 1999.
Still, their base pay is $79,500, according to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only California, which pays its representatives just over $95,000 a year, and Pennsylvania, at just over $82,000, are higher.
The $100,000 annual payday would vault New York lawmakers to the top of the highest paid list.
New York state legislators’ base salaries also don’t include various “lulus,” or cash bonuses they get for fulfilling certain additional roles. For example, they earn $171 every day they work in Albany. The minority whip of the Senate gets paid an additional $14,500 for that role. The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee gets a $34,000 “lulu,” according to a report in the Times Union.
By comparison, Florida pays its legislators $29,687 a year, Texas pays $7,200 and Illinois nearly $68,000.
According to the 2010 census, the median household income in New York is $55,603.
“If it happens after the election a lot of New Yorkers are going to be very unhappy. A lot of people are in pain in this state. North of the Westchester County line it is a different planet. People are out of work. Things are tough,” Sheinkopf said.
“My goodness. I don’t think they deserve it. They only work part-time and they make a lot of money now and it’s enough for a part-time job,” said Kay McAniss of Astoria.
“It’s ridiculous. We all need to cut back right now. It’s a bad economy for everybody,” added Ashley Bermingham of Astoria.
Sources told Kramer that any deal to raise lawmakers’ salaries would be tied to a companion measure to hike the pay of commissioners working for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Should lawmakers in Albany give themselves a pay raise? Take our poll, and sound off in our comments section below. For much more on this, tune in tonight at 6 to see Marcia Kramer’s report.