December 22, 2022
So today in the New York State Capital In Albany, the state assembly and senate majorities voted to give themselves a $32,000 pay increase annually.
From Senator Tom O’Mara: “New York’s taxpayers live under the highest state and local tax burden in the nation. Families are struggling to make ends meet. Too many small businesses and family farms are barely surviving. Crime is rampant and New Yorkers don’t feel safe where they live and work. Local economies, especially upstate, are stagnant. There’s a fentanyl crisis, an unemployment insurance crisis, an affordability crisis, a public safety crisis, an unfunded mandate crisis, and the list goes on. Yet the Albany Democrats call a special session to make New York the highest-paid Legislature in the nation. One-party, all-Democrat rule has been a disaster for everyday New Yorkers. It’s out of control and it’s about to go from bad to worse in the new year.”
From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano: Not only is this the wrong policy at the wrong time, this sends a very clear and terrible message that they are completely out of touch and certainly not listening to the people they work for. This comes at a time when New York families and businesses are still suffering from an affordability and crime crisis. Paired with the highest taxes and worst business climate in the country along with burdensome and costly regulations, New Yorkers across the state are facing agonizing financial decisions this holiday season. Financial decisions that will only become tougher in the future as they move forward with advancing a radical energy/climate plan, released earlier this week, that will result in higher electricity rates and staggering upfront conversion costs of more than $35,000 to comply with the mandate for homeowners to retrofit their homes to full electrification.”
From Assemblyman Joe Giglio: “I am disgusted at the introduction of legislation to increase the salaries of New York state lawmakers. At a time when the prices of fuel, food, home heating oil and basic necessities have all increased, it is unconscionable that the Majorities in the New York state legislature, with the cooperation of the governor, decided to implement a $32,000 a year legislative pay raise. No one warned taxpayers that this would be on the table during the election. They are the ones who should have decided on this issue at the ballot box, not a special session. We need leaders who prioritize bettering the lives of every resident of this state, not politicians who have constituents foot the bill to make elected officials in New York State the highest-paid legislative body in the country. I am very disappointed in my colleagues in the Majority and firmly voted no on this action.
From Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes: “They wouldn’t call a special session to address the people’s priorities such as eliminating the dangerous bail reforms that have spiked crime or to help New Yorkers feeling the effects of inflation, yet they called a special session to give themselves a raise,” said Byrnes. “It is morally repugnant and sends a bad message about legislative priorities. Leaders in Albany should be taking care of the people – not just themselves. This will create professional politicians, eliminating real-world people with real-world experiences who want to run for office. Our system was intended as citizen-legislators who would bring a wealth of knowledge from the outside with them to the capitol, thereby strengthening the legislative process and the laws we create. We have farmers, veterans, insurance agents, businesspeople, dentists, veterinarians, and all kinds of professionals represented. Taking that away will only hurt the entire process. My fear is the people running for office will not be running to serve the public but to secure high-paying government jobs.”
From Senator George Borrello: As most New Yorkers are busy preparing to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, the Democratic majorities in the State Legislature cooked up a self-serving feast of their own in the form of a whopping $32,000 pay raise. This increase means that New York State legislators will be the highest paid in the country at $142,000. Coming just weeks after a 2022 election where Democratic legislative candidates made no mention that a 29 percent pay raise for themselves was in the works, this deceitful move only confirms New Yorkers’ worst perceptions of its political leaders. Their attempt to buy political cover by instituting a ban on outside income won’t make Albany better, it will make it worse. With this ban, we will be discouraging enterprising, accomplished individuals with real-world experience from entering public service and moving closer to eradicating the ‘citizen legislator’ – that individual who serves, not for a hefty salary, but because they want to contribute to their state. The end result will be more ‘professional politicians’ and more out-of-touch policies that hurt New Yorkers.
What state residents have said they wanted in poll after poll was for legislators to return to Albany to fix the dangerous mess they’ve made of our criminal justice system. The Democratic majorities flatly rejected those requests. Instead, they pursued their own selfish agenda by passing legislation that will put legislators’ pay at nearly double the median household income for New York families. New Yorkers deserve better…far better. That is why I vehemently opposed this proposal and voted ‘no.’