Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford, Chenango County, collects a $79,500 salary and a $38,272 pension for serving in the same job. He also gets $15,000 a year for serving as chairman of the Assembly Minority Conference Committee.
Crouch, who when he turned 65 in 2010 put in for his pension for 25 years of public service, said now’s not the right time for a minimum-wage increase.
He is one of about a dozen lawmakers collecting a salary and a pension. The practice has been criticized because lawmakers officially retire at the end of their term, then start their new term in January —- allowing them to double dip.
State law allows elected officials who were in office before 1995 to collect their pensions at age 65, even if they stay in the same job.
“I’m all for low-wage employees making all the money that we can afford to pay them, but our economy is such at this time, it is not the right time to step up and say we’re going to raise the minimum wage,” Crouch said on the Assembly floor today.
Assembly Republicans were opposing the minimum-wage increase today as it was set for passage in the Democratic-led Assembly.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and other Democrats said the minimum wage is needed to help low-income families, saying it is “appalling” that families have to live on $7.25 an hour.