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State committee releases report on possible raise for lawmakers

December 10, 2018 07:10 PM

The state Compensation Committee released its final report on proposed raises for state lawmakers on Monday evening. That's the day the report was due.

Even before that report was released, some lawmakers were finding fault with the committee's recommendations.

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On January 1, 2019, lawmakers will get a raise unless they enact legislation that will prevent that. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the pay raise issue.

Republican Senator George Amedore of Rotterdam has been building homes his entire professional life. He says he intends to keep doing it, even while serving in the state Senate.

"To ban outside income or to limit outside income, to think that it's going to clean up someone's ethical behavior is just a joke," said Amedore.

Amedore says he hasn't spoken with any legislative colleagues who would be willing to give up their livelihood or limit their income just to serve the public.

It's that diversity that Republican Assemblyman Jake Ashby from Castleton sees as a real asset to the legislative process.

"You'd be missing something," he said. "You'd be missing lawmakers that have outside experience and outside of policy – whether it's in the medical field, whether it's in the teaching field. I think that's valuable to have in the Legislature."

"It's an awful lot of money," said Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald of Cohoes, who also owns a pharmacy. He says he realizes a 64-percent pay raise probably sends the wrong message to his constituents. He also doesn't think lawmakers need to pass certain legislation to justify their pay raise.

"A lot of the reforms that we've been pushing in the Assembly, we haven't had a willing partner in the Senate. Now, if what they campaigned on is what they're going to do, this is a great opportunity to really put some reforms in place to really help take the money out of politics," said McDonald.

Lawmakers have the opportunity to vote this down.

"We should and I hope," said Amedore.

Senator Amedore says he would like to see this issue go to a public referendum.


MORE INFORMATION:  Compensation Committee report on proposed raises for state lawmakers

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Dan Levy

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