ALBANY – Chautauqua County’s two representatives in the State Legislature are both going on record to oppose a 64 percent salary increase for State lawmakers.
The Committee on Legislative and Executive Compensation recommended last week that the base salary for State Legislators increase from $79,500 to $110,000 next year, $120,000 in 2020, and $130,000 in 2021. This would make New York legislators the highest paid state legislators in the nation.
Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean) recently talked with WRFA and said she was opposed to the recommendation.
“I’m against it and I’ve been very vocal about it. I’ve called on Sen. John Flanagan, currently the majority leader in the Senate, to call us back into session because we can vote this down,” Young told WRFA. “I honestly believe that we need to take action. I’m not sure if we’re coming back into session or not. It doesn’t look like it at this point, but I just think it is the wrong way to go and I think the commission missed the mark in many ways.”
In addition, Assembly Andy Goodell (R-Ellicott) also voiced his opposition in a media release sent out Wednesday.
“It is inappropriate to dramatically increase the salary of a legislator after the election,” said Goodell. “Winning an election for public office should not be like winning the lottery, with a chance to score a big salary increase after the election.”
The Committee was composed of four prominent Democrat officials from the New York City area. The determinations of the Committee were intended to become effective automatically next year unless the State Legislature met in special session and adopted a different salary schedule.
In a letter he sent to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Goodell also requested a special session of the State Legislature to address the salary determinations of the Committee. Goodell also noted that the delegation to the Compensation Committee of the authority to make salary determinations “with the force of law” without legislative action violated several fundamental provisions of the State Constitution.
“The State Constitution is clear that the salary of State Legislators must be set by law. Only the State Legislature can pass such a law, subject to the approval or veto by the Governor. The State Legislature cannot delegate law-making authority to an outside committee, thereby eliminating any opportunity for State Legislators to vote on the proposal,” Goodell pointed out.
Reports out of Albany have said that unless the legislature votes down the recommendation, it will automatically go into effect.