(DCWatchdog.com) – A 30% salary increase that the lawmakers of New York state had awarded themselves has now entered into force, making them the highest-paid state legislators in the United States.
The massive pay raise was approved by both chambers of the New York legislature ahead of Christmas and was signed into law on New Year’s Eve by the state’s Democrat Governor, Kathy Hochul.
On Sunday, New Year’s Day, Hochul was inaugurated for a second term as NY Governor, the first that she won in her own right, after in 2021, as Lieutenant Governor, she took over from disgraced Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
All 150 Assembly members and 63 New York legislature senators benefit from the 30% hike in their annual salaries, which translates into $32,000 in absolute terms.
The new annual base salary of New York state legislators has thus increased from $110,000 to $142,000, surpassing the pay at any other state legislature nationwide.
Until now, the previously highest-paid state legislators in the US were those of California. They have an annual base salary of 119,000, Breitbart News reported citing the National Conference of State Legislatures.
However, California also pays its state senators and assembly members daily fees of up to $214 for attending the legislature’s sessions.
The Democrats have supermajorities in both chambers of the New York state legislature.
The New York State Senate has 42 Democrats and 21 Republicans.
The New York State Assembly has 102 Democrats and 42 Republicans.
The lawmakers of New York state awarded themselves the massive pay raise at a special legislature session at the end of December.
“I believe that legislators need to be compensated for the hard work that they do. People don’t realize the sacrifice that they make being away from their families,” declared Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) at the time.
The salary increase for the New York legislators stipulates restrictions to outside income, which will be limited to $35,000 starting in 2025.
However, pay exceeding the abovementioned threshold will still be admissible if it comes from investments, retirement plans, or military service.
While the pay raise was debated, the Democrats insisted the lawmakers’ salaries were stuck at $79,500 for 20 years between 1999 and 2019, where they were hiked to $110,000 after a special compensation committee recommended it.
“It’s a full-time job. People are working throughout the year, and to wait until 20 or 30 years (for a raise) isn’t reasonable either for lawmakers,” declared Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, as cited by Politico.
New York lawmakers are now officially the highest paid state legislators in the land after they awarded themselves a massive pay raise. https://t.co/YKsa0O1wpx
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 2, 2023