Watchdog Groups Oppose Legislative Pay Raise Bill

Legislature’s Proposal Has Weak Controls on Outside Income, Dilutes Recommendations of 2018 Pay Commission, Does Little to Reduce Corruption Risk

Legislative leaders introduced a bill late last night giving hefty raises to the next state legislature. The leaders are proposing base salaries of $142,000 starting January 1, 2023, with a limit on outside income of $35,000 beginning in 2025 (about 25% of the increased salary). 

Unfortunately, the bill does not prohibit outside income from entities where the legislator would have a fiduciary responsibility to a client. A number of exceptions are included, such as retirement income from the state, income earned from military service, and certain earnings from family businesses.

The watchdog groups say the bill must be accompanied by sharp restrictions on outside income and other basic reforms recommended by the 2018 pay commission, including: 

  • 15% cap on outside income (Like U.S. Congress) 
  • “Fiduciary” ban on outside income from employment where the legislator has a fiduciary relationship to the employer or client (Like U.S. Congress)
  • Elimination of stipends (Per 2018 pay commission recommendations.)
  • No family business exception (unless Legislature adopts full Pay Commission recommendations)
  • Simultaneous implementation of salary increase and outside income limits

Additionally, the groups believe that the proper time to pass pay raise legislation is during the regular legislative session.

Ben Weinberg, Citizens Union, 347-291-4199
Susan Lerner, Common Cause/NY, 212-691-6421
Laura Ladd Bierman, League of Women Voters of New York State, 518-727-0350
Blair Horner, New York Public Interest Research Group, 518-436-0876 x257
Rachael Fauss, Reinvent Albany, 518-859-5307