Sen. David Carlucci came out strongly today against pay raises for state legislators, saying Albany “needs to wake up and get a dose of reality to what working families are feeling all across our state.”
A Clarkstown Democrat, Carlucci’s op-ed appeared in The Journal News today.
During these tough economic times, I oppose a pay raise for state legislators. With so many of our neighbors struggling to make ends meet, right now the focus should instead be on how we can improve New Yorkers’ quality of life. New Yorkers do not have the luxury of raising their own pay whenever they feel like it — why should legislators?
When it comes down to it, Carlucci was responding to comments made by Democratic Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson of Mt. Vernon, albeit in a once-removed, roundabout way. (Technically, he responded to a Journal News editorial that took issue with Hassell-Thompson saying the public’s opposition to a legislative pay hike is based on “ignorance.”)
“The Editorial Board was dead right in its assessment that it is not ignorance that prevents this measure from passing — but common sense, accountability and a sense of fairness,” Carlucci wrote.
State lawmakers are currently paid a base salary of $79,000, but most earn stipends for leadership positions and serving on committees. They haven’t received a raise since 1999, leading to plenty of speculation that they may return to Albany after the November elections to vote themselves an increase.