August 24, 2016
Democrat state senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke has issued the following statement:
Following reports of an almost certain pay raise for State Legislators of nearly $40,000 per year, Leslie Danks Burke today announced that she would refuse any increase in salary until the legislature passes meaningful reforms to end the corruption that has steered money and jobs away from the Southern Tier and Finger lakes.
“No raise for this legislature until there’s action to eliminate the influence of downstate special interest money in Albany,” said Danks Burke. “I may only be one person, but one person can make a difference, and sometimes you have to stand up for what’s right.”
“97% of voters say they want real ethics reform, but the legislature refuses to act,” Danks Burke continued. “If elected, I will personally refuse any legislative pay raise until Albany changes the corrupt rules that siphon away our tax dollars and threaten our local businesses, infrastructure, and schools.”
Danks Burke already voluntarily follows tougher ethics standards than her opponent, and she has pledged to work to enact these reforms into law. Danks Burke provides more transparent campaign finance disclosure than New York law requires, and she declines to accept campaign funds through scams frequently exploited by downstate interests, including the LLC Loophole and the County Committee loophole.
Danks Burke also refuses to accept outside income, which legislators allow for themselves, but which was the central problem in the recent conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“These facts speak for themselves: My opponent receives a six-figure salary as a partner in one of New York’s largest law and lobbying firms, in addition to his current legislative salary,” said Danks Burke. “The firm he works for has regular business before the legislature, yet he’s the chair of the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee with authority to dictate the committee’s calendar. That looks like a conflict of interest to me, even if loopholes allow it. I refuse to participate in accepting outside income and my opponent should, too.”