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ALBANY, NY (WNY News Now) — As many folks are struggling to buy food and gifts for their family this holiday season, New York State lawmakers have proposed a bill that would drastically raise their wages.
The bill, sponsored by Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D), will be voted on in a special session this Thursday, with legislators from both parties seemingly against the idea.
If pay raises are not passed by the end of 2022, under New York State law, legislators would not be able to receive a raise until 2025.
NY-57 Senator George Borrello says the bill is unprecedented, and that proposing it after the election was a deliberate tactic to keep it under the radar.
“Late Monday night, a bill dropped, the only bill that we’ll be voting on which is a bill to increase the salary for state legislators to a record level. Currently, this is a part-time position and that position pays $110,000 a year plus a daily stipend when you’re in Albany. This will increase it to $142,000 a year. $32,000 increase, a 30 percent increase with still the same stipend and fringe benefits and so forth,” explains Borrello.
If the measure passes, it would make the New York state legislature the highest paid in the country, $22,000 higher than the next highest paying state, California.
“I don’t believe that, I work very hard, but I don’t believe my colleagues are deserving of this because for the last two years under the COVID rules which allowed them to vote remotely, the halls of Albany were quite frankly pretty empty. And to ask for a raise, particularly now, when we’re on the verge of a recession, when New Yorkers are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet, to put gas in their car,” says Borrello.
Instead of giving themselves a raise, Borrello believes the Senate should be dealing with the issues that he says make 55 percent of New Yorkers say the state is heading in the wrong direction.
“If we’re gonna go back for a special session, it should be to repeal bail reform which has been an unmitigated disaster. In fact, I heard that Kathy Hochul was trying to negotiate with the majority Democrats to include that along with this pay raise, but she obviously caved in. And there’s no other bill on the agenda, so it’s always possible,” hopes Borrello.
Bringing the Senate back to session costs the taxpayers money, and many legislators believe this special session could be used to vote on many important issues the state faces, instead of just their own salary.
“Unfortunately, my far left colleagues, largely in NYC, they feel that this social justice agenda is worth the carnage and the death,” says Borrello. “In other words, new victims that are unnecessarily created are just acceptable losses for them in their social justice war and their war on public safety, their war on law enforcement.”
The Senator suggests repealing the bail reform and creating new legislation with input from all groups affected by criminal justice, including police and victims rights groups.
Borrello assures his constituents that he will vote no for this bill in the special session, and believes that this is just one more overreach that will cause voters to reconsider their Democratic leaders.
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