State legislators should be part-time

I would like to comment on the recent passage by the New York Legislature of a bill to increase their salaries. Although the cost of living has increased since their last increase, the more important point is that the job of a NYS legislator is (or should be) a part-time job, not even justifying the current $110,000. .

Besides the few weeks they spend in Albany “legislating” and at committee meetings, they are in their districts attending “important” state functions like ribbon cuttings and giving speeches. Their staff handles most voter issues by interfacing with the appropriate state office for action. A legislator’s most time-consuming job is raising campaign money from special interests, and even then, those people don’t get their money’s worth because the budget and important issues are controlled by the ” four women and men in one room”: Governor, public service trade union leader (CSEA/AFSCME), President of the Senate and President of the Assembly.

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Everything else is distributed by formula according to the party and seniority of the legislator. If legislators can run a law or other business while working “full-time” as legislators, they are neglecting their constituents and treating legislator work as a part-time job. For reference, according to Ballotpedia, lawmakers in comparably sized states like Texas or Florida earn significantly less. In Texas it’s $7,000 and in Florida $30,000. These states have larger populations than New York and I would consider them as complex to administer as NY. Residents wake up; you are taken by an elite group of government officials.

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