After reviewing the recent decision of the New York State pay compensation panel on salary increases for Senate and Assembly members hiking their salaries 64 percent, from the current $79,500 to $130,000 over a two-year period beginning Jan. 1, including the generous fringe benefit package they receive, I found myself feeling disgusted with our elected and appointed state officials.
The magnitude of these salary increases and the nature of the reforms, reforms tied to these increases that might not hold up if challenged in court, is nothing short of obscene given the past track record of our elected state officials. Another thing, check out the salaries and benefits of all 50 state legislatures and once you get past the highest three the overall compensation for them drops rapidly. In the past decade 30 state officials have been convicted and sanctioned of wrongdoing; more than any other state. Extrapolating from that statistic, one can only imagine how much more corruption has occurred that has yet to brought to light.
While most New Yorkers would agree that reasonable compensation adjustments for our elected and appointed state officials is in order, provided that these adjustments should not be forthcoming until there is a willingness on the part of both legislative bodies to make the necessary reforms to eliminate past abuses. To put outlandish compensation increases ahead of needed reforms is nothing short of bribery.
These positions are ones of public service and not intended to be lifetime occupations.