State legislators shouldn’t get a pay raise

Posted 17 December 2014 at 12:00 am


Attempts to talk sense to power generally fall short of receptive ears. Nonetheless, I will feel better after throwing a few thoughts out there.

Efforts to rationalize pay raises for State lawmakers make little sense to me. In 2006, our New York Legislators were among the very highest paid in the nation (One state may have been higher). What has changed? Are our legislators doing a better job telling people what they want to hear and showing up for photo ops than they were then?

A $79,500 base and a very generous per diem, presumably amounting to $860 per working week, would seem generous enough. There are numerous other perks as well.

In fact, it seems to me that the people we would want doing the job are people dedicated to public service, rather than a paycheck resembling one from the private sector. I believe there are more of such people than one might expect. Paying legislators more assures nothing beneficial to the taxpayers. We should be discouraging the “empty suits” who pursue public office for financial gain.

Following the reasoning of those arguing for boosting Legislator compensation, one might conclude there are no good teachers at Catholic schools!

When the Governor insists pay raises would have to be connected to ethics reform, he should be applauded. On top of everything else, State Legislators living in safe districts use tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to promote themselves as though there was a chance they might lose.

Why don’t we put pay raises on the ballot and see where they go? Do you think it might be because someone knows we aren’t persuaded despite editorials supporting them?

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent