New York lawmakers made headlines last week by proposing they receive a 47 percent raise, which would ultimately place them as the highest paid state legislators in the country.
Currently, lawmakers make $79,500. That’s an annual figure that has stood since they last received a raise in 1999. In comparison, the current salary places New York behind only California ($100,113) and Pennsylvania ($85,339). Right now, the proposal is left for a commission, tasked with deciding salaries for top government officials, to determine whether or not to proceed. Should the proposed salary hike go through, lawmakers would top the list at $116,900 a year.
When in conversation, the topics of money and politicians seldom mix favorably in the eyes of the public. Perhaps that’s why we’re going two decades without hearing about pay hikes from The Capitol. The assumed annual increase of 2 percent seems reasonable, when compared to cost of living calculations at the American Institute of Economic Research, the proposal is on par at $114,460.84.
The calculator takes into account present-day conditions for 2016, and can not calculate for 2017.
That $2,400 should not be much to strike up your anger, especially if we are to assume the next raise won’t occur for another 15 years. Nevertheless, some of us have not received annual raises. Looking back at the economic landscape since 1999, there have been many of us who have lost jobs, and taken new ones with a decrease in pay, the nasty effects from the Great Recession.
Now we’re talking nickels and dimes, but the proposal does not reportedly do away with any travel stipends. Then, there is the public perception that the positions in question are part-time jobs. And, some of those part-timers have been caught in unscrupulous activity in this past year, alone.
So, taking a page out of the corporate world, the employee demanding a raise needs to step up to the employer and answer, “what have you done for me lately?” The employee not only must show that he or she has done what was expected, the argument needs to reveal that the employee has gone above and beyond. And, if such an argument can’t be presented, there is no such raise.
Of course, that’s not what happens. At least, not in such a piecemeal case for all 213 seats in Albany.
It’s a move that deflects the heat of the situation away from lawmakers, having a commission decide upon the validity of the proposal, and to do it after the current term ends — it’s pretty ingenious.
The commission will not issue a report until Nov. 15. Which turns the question upon you, the voter: Does your representative deserve a raise? You can answer that question in the ballot booth on Election Day.