State Lawmaker Pay Raise Now Appears Unlikely

7:19 PM, Nov 19, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Courtesy AP

ALBANY -- The recovery from Superstorm Sandy and uncertainty over control of the state Senate appears to be scuttling plans to have a special session of the state Legislature before year's end.

The increasing unlikelihood of a special session would mean lawmakers would go another two years without a pay raise. They haven't had one since 1999, and most officials had anticipated they would vote themselves one before a new Legislature convenes in January. An increase in the minimum wage was also expected to be part of a special session.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that he is disinclined to call a session amid the cleanup from the storm, officials said. The Legislature would otherwise return to Albany in January, when its regular session is set to begin.

"I really see no pressing issue that we have to deal with before the end of the year," said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, Ontario County. "Unless it's something related to Hurricane Sandy, I don't think there's anything that can't wait until January."

Lawmakers receive a base salary of $79,500 and most receive stipends for leadership positions. A sitting Legislature can't give itself a pay raise, so they would have to do it this year before the newly elected group takes office Jan. 1.

Fred Dicker with the New York Post first reported the development on Monday morning.

In July, assemblymember Dan Burling (R-147th District) from Warsaw received a standing ovation from his fellow lawmakers when he promised to return to Albany before the end of the year and vote in favor of a pay hike.

Burling will not serve in the legislation after this year. He chose not to run for re-election.

"Certainly the people of New York state are well served, and I will be back (after election day) to vote for your pay raise," said Burling to an ovation on the floor of the Assembly in July.

Governor Cuomo has not commented on the situation as of yet.

Gannett/ Joe Spector/ New York Post/ WGRZ

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