New York lawmakers set to earn $142,000 a year after passing 29% wage increase for part-time work | New York

(The Center Square) – New York lawmakers could receive a 29% pay rise in the new year after passing a measure to give it to themselves.

If Governor Kathy Hochul signs the bill, members of the state Assembly and Senate would begin receiving $142,000 a year beginning January 1. Hochul earlier this month expressed support for the increase.

It would also make New York state lawmakers the highest paid in the nation, earning more than double what an average household in the state earns.

The Senate voted 33 to 23 to pass the bill just before 2 p.m. Thursday. The Assembly followed suit with an 81-52 vote 90 minutes later.

The votes were largely partisan, with Democrats largely supporting the measure and Republicans opposing it.

Under New York’s constitution, lawmakers cannot vote for a pay raise that takes effect during their current term. Had they waited until after Jan. 1 to pass it, the $32,000 hike wouldn’t have happened until 2025.

Still, GOP members objected to the timing of the move, not that it was just before Christmas, but rather that it came as they said many New Yorkers were struggling economically. Additionally, the state gasoline tax exemption is set to expire at the end of the month.

“This is the worst time, the worst time, to say to our constituents, ‘Empty your pockets. Tighten your belts even tighter,'” said Deputy Senate Minority Leader Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island , during the debate.

Others objected to provisions that would cap outside income, which they said would prohibit business or farm owners from earning more than $35,000. This provision, however, would not take effect until 2025, and the law would allow lawmakers to exceed this threshold for certain exceptions.

Proponents of the raise claimed that serving their constituents had become a full-time, year-round position, and Lanza said that could lead to a legal challenge to the pay increase.

“Yesterday you had to be a citizen,” he said. “Yesterday, you had to be a certain age. Yesterday, you were supposed to be a resident of your neighborhood. And tomorrow, metaphorically, you will also have to be a person who does not have outside work with a certain income, and that, for me, means that you change qualifications.

Until 2018, New York lawmakers earned $79,500 a year, but Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, pointed out that before then, lawmakers hadn’t had a increase for two decades.

Krueger also said she would be willing to change the job definition for state lawmakers from part-time to full-time.

“I have to do it very badly,” she said sarcastically of her stance. “It takes me 24/7 after 21 years. So, I believe it’s a full time job for me, and I don’t have any other job. Other people have figured out how to combine what they do in the legislature with outside income. I take my hat off to them because I don’t even understand. Sometimes I don’t do my laundry for X weeks because I’m so busy. »

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