Possible Pay Raise for NYS Legislature

An increase in pay for members of the New York State Legislature is in discussion and opinions are strong. This raise in pay would be voted on at the end of 2012 and, if passed, would go into effect at the beginning of 2013.

State legislator base salaries have not been raised since 1999. And compared to City Council members who receive more than $100,000 a year, state lawmakers say the $70,000 or so annual salary of a legislature member seems unfair. However, currently, only California and Pennsylvania representatives receive more than New York, at $95,000 and $82,000 respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, Illinois’ legislators receive almost $68,000 annually, Florida’s get $29,687 and Texas’ only get paid $7,200. If New York legislators raise their pay to $100,000, as they suggested, they will become the highest paid lawmakers in the United States.

Many seem to agree that now is not the time for a raise in salary.

Senator David Carlucci stated that he is strongly opposed to pay raises for state legislators. In an op-ed to a local news outlet, Carlucci wrote, “With so many of our neighbors struggling to make ends meet, right now the focus should instead be on how we can improve New Yorkers’ quality of life. New Yorkers do not have the luxury of raising their own pay whenever they feel like it – why should legislators?”

In addition, Assemblyman George Latimer is serving his fourth term representing Westchester communities and says in a letter to a news outlet, “This is absolutely the wrong time for a pay raise… This nation, and this state, still endure a difficult economic time. Many are unemployed, all worrying every day about simply staying afloat: keeping their homes, paying their bills… I hope we will not see a pay raise bill this November – it is the wrong time to do so.”