Pay raises for everyone?

by Tim Hoefer |  | NY Torch

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

It seems like everyone who counts in Albany could get a pay bump before the year’s out.

Pay raises are basically an annual tradition for government employees.  As The Chief reports (subscription required), about 75 percent of the members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and 67 percent of Public Employees Federation (PEF) members are getting increases from step increments and longevity bonuses, despite the state’s supposed wage freeze. (The unions say their members are still losing money due to payless furlough days and increases in health insurance premiums.) Teachers often get two raises each year, one negotiated in their contract as a “raise,” and one as a “step” increase.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver got his chamber to pass what, so far, is a one-house minimum-wage hike. (E.J. wrote on it here, here and had an op-ed in Newsday yesterday. Rus has covered the issue here, here and with this policy briefing.) Silver recently conceded the issue likely won’t pass before session officially ends next week  … but all bets are off for summer or post-election passage.

All that generosity is apparently leaving the lawmakers themselves feeling … well, drained.

They’ve been anything but secretive about their desire for a pay raise, which would be their first since 1999. The consensus around the Capitol is that there will be movement on this after this fall’s elections.

New York lawmakers are technically part-timers, meaning they can still hold outside jobs (read: make more money on top of their legislative salaries). The base salary for a state legislator is $79,500, plus stipends for leadership positions and committee chairmanships, plus a $171 daily per-diem during session.

New York’s legislative pay is the third highest nationally according to our DataBank, which among its 50+ comparative data sets, also ranks legislative spending per member.



- Tim Hoefer is the Executive Director at the Empire Center for Public Policy.