Will state lawmakers challenge pay raise recommendations?

December 13, 2018 07:48 PM

What's next for state lawmakers getting hefty pay raises at the start of 2019? It's a question legislators are trying to figure out. Could they try and block the move with legislation, or let the courts decide?

A handful of local lawmakers say they're interested in no increases. So will there be an effort to stop the controversial pay raises outlined in a 30-page report submitted Monday by the Committee on Legislative and Executive Compensation?

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Lawmakers are trying to figure out what the next steps could be -- legislation to block the move before the end of 2018, ahead of the next legislative session or legal action.

Over three years, lawmakers in New York state -- starting January 1, will jump from $79,000 a year in salary to $110,000 in 2019, with another increase in by $10,000 in 2020 and a final bump to $130,000 by 2021. Along with raises for other government officials -- including the governor and lieutenant governor.

The four Compensation Committee members -- all current and past state and New York City comptrollers, also voted to limit to 15-percent how much lawmakers can earn from outside jobs, which had been found to open doors to potential corruption in the past. Lawmakers NewsChannel 13 spoke with say the process should have involved taxpayers.

"I think there are some challenges with what the commission has done and they may be challenged in the future," said Republican Senator James Tedisco of Glenville.

"Our leader will meet with the leader of the Senate at some point -- either before the end of the session -- and if not something agreed to, meet with the new leader and try to work something out," said Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald of Cohoes.

Again, NewsChannel 13 asked the four Compensation Committee members for an interview by phone or in person. SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall agreed, telling NewsChannel 13 by phone that lawmakers have been asking for increases for the better part of two decades, but never acted on it. He says now that this committee has brought forth these increases, they're not happy. However, he asks what's there not to be happy about.

WEB EXTRA: Full interview with H. Carl McCall


Jill Konopka

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