As some New York’s state legislators talk about holding a special session this month to give themselves a raise, a review of payroll data shows that more than three-quarters of them already earn more than their $79,500 base salary.
Stipends can push legislators’ salaries over six figures. New York’s base salary for part-time lawmakers is already greater than 47 other states, only California and Pennsylvania are higher.
Of the seven state senators and Assembly members who represent parts of Oneida County, only one did not receive extra pay in 2013, the most recent full year for which legislative pay data are available. The other six six were paid between $89,000 and $97,500. All seven were reelected last month and will start new terms in January.
The extra pay consists of annual stipends issued to legislators who hold committee posts or other leadership titles. The payments range from $9,000 to $41,500.
Nearly five out of six senators were paid more than $90,000 in 2013, including 17 who were paid more than $100,000, according to a report released reentry by the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative organization. The center analyzed data compiled by the state comptroller’s office. More than two thirds of the members of the Assembly received a stipend, with 104 Assembly members collecting them in 2013. More than half of Assembly members were paid more than $90,000, including 11 who were paid more than $100,000.
The last pay hike for state legislators was was adopted in 1998 and took effect in 1999. Because state law doesn’t allow a sitting legislature to give itself a raise, lawmakers must act before the end of the year or else have to wait another two years.
Here’s a look at base pay and stipends received by Oneida County’s five Assembly members:
— Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-117, Black River: Member pay: $79,500; other pay, $9,000; total pay, $88,500.
— Anthony J. Brindisi, D-119, Utica — Member pay: $79,500; other pay, $0; total pay, $79,500.
—Marc W. Butler, R-118, Newport: Member pay: $79,500; other pay, $18,000; total pay, $97,500.
— William D. Magee, D-121, Nelson: Member pay: $79,500; other pay, $12,500; total pay, $92,000.
— Claudia L. Tenney, R-101, New Hartford: Member pay: $79,500; other pay, $9,500; total pay, $89,000.
Here’s a look at base pay and stipends received by Oneida County’s two senators:
— Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome: Member pay: $79,500; other pay, $15,000; total pay, $94,500.
— David J. Valesky, D-53, Oneida: Member pay: $79,500; other pay, $12,500; total pay, $92,000.
The highest paid state legislator in 2013 was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The Manhattan Democrat received $122,469, reports the Empire Center.
Besides stipends, legislators also receive allowances for expenses when they are in Albany for official business. The daily rate is $172 for a full day, including overnight, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. There’s also a partial day rate of $61.
© 2014 Rome Sentinel