Republican leadership says ‘pay commission’ has overstepped with lawmakers raises

The commission on compensation of state elected officials “significantly overstepped” when it approved pay raises for state lawmakers and a cap on their outside income, Republican Senate leader John Flanagan said in a statement.

“The committee was never tasked with making any determination on that matter, and should not have made one. By doing so, they alone are deciding who is eligible to run for public office in New York and who is not,” Flanagan said in a statement on Tuesday. “Additionally, previous efforts to cap outside income were advanced via a constitutional amendment, and therefore, if challenged, this effort would likely be ruled unconstitutional.”

The commission’s report would raise the pay of state lawmakers to $130,000 in the coming years contingent on the passage of state budgets by April 1, which Flanagan also criticized.

“On top of that, I have concerns over tying future adjustments in pay to passage of on-time budgets,” he said. “Timely and responsive budgets are always the goal, but this so-called “reform” is an inherent conflict of interest that runs contrary to the separation of powers that should exist between the Executive and Legislature.”

The commission also backed an outside pay cap for lawmakers of 15 percent of their legislative salary as well as end to the stipend system.

Flanagan will remain majority leader until the end of the month after which Democrats will hold a majority in the chamber. Lawmakers can let stand the report or convene to overturn in it a special session before Jan. 1.

For now, several legislative sources have said it’s unlikely that lawmakers would overturn the recommendations of the commission, which would scuttle their first pay raise in 20 years.

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