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You have got to be kidding me! After 20 straight years of late budgets and failing to craft a major overhaul of school funding, our beloved state legislators are considering a wage increase. The last raise they gave themselves -- right after Election Day, by the way -- was in 1998, and it was a whopping 38 percent. The last raise I received as a CSEA state employee was a whopping 2.5 percent. I'm happy to have a decent job and any increase is always welcome, but things are getting out of hand in this state.

And how convenient that shortly after this past Election Day, Sen. Joseph Bruno and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver "floated the idea of paying all lawmakers the same" and said they want to see "some sort of regular cost-of-living wage hikes" for lawmakers. Their base salary is $79,500, and some earn annual stipends of up to $41,500 a year. They will have to give up the stipends if they give themselves this raise. What a shame!

How much more can we take? Let's see our state legislators pass the budget on time, for once, and stop the chatter about how much more they can bleed the taxpayers. Voters, remember this the next time you're in the voting booth.

Karen R. Pulinski