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Hawley opposed to big pay hike for state legislators

Staff Reports Posted 27 October 2016 at 10:53 am

State legislators could get a 47 percent pay increase starting in January, a hike from the current $79,500 base salary to $116,900.

That increase, the first since 1999, has been suggested by the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) released a statement this morning saying he opposes pay raises for lawmakers. Hawley said “the core function” of the Legislature is helping New Yorkers improve their quality of life through a responsible budget and effective legislation, not by making more money.

He favor s a more efficient legislative schedule, for example starting session at 9 a.m. and working until 5 p.m., and going three days per week instead of 59 days spread over six months. That would enable the people’s work to be wrapped up by the end of March, Hawley said.

“We need to return to what our Founding Fathers envisioned when our country was conceived, citizen representatives whose motivation for taking office was to serve their neighbors,” Hawley said. “We don’t need more money; we need an emphasis on stewardship, governance and efficiency.”

To deter future corruption from elected officials, Hawley said he supports legislation that would do away with pensions for officials convicted of a felony.

Hawley also said he does not believe the Commission on Legislative, Judicial & Executive Compensation should be making a lawfully-binding pay raise recommendation to the Legislature. That decision, he said, should be up to those elected by the public.

“An embarrassing number of legislators have been found to be abusing the public trust,” Hawley said. “Until there are rock-solid reforms in place to ensure an end to corruption, bribery, fraud and pay-to-play politics, we should not even entertain the thought of a raise.”

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