by WorldTribune Staff, December 27, 2022
Their policies are driving citizens out of the Empire State in droves. Yet, New York state legislators have awarded themselves a 29 percent pay increase, making them the nation’s most highly-compensated.
If Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul signs the legislation into law, members of the state Assembly and Senate would begin receiving $142,000 annually effective Jan. 1. Hochul has expressed support for the increase.
The pay hike would also make New York state legislators the highest paid in the country, earning more than twice what the average household earns in the state.
During debate in the Senate, state Sen. George Borrello accused his Democrat counterparts of misplaced priorities: “Are we fixing criminal justice reforms? We’re not doing that. Are we fixing the unemployment insurance fund? It’s bankrupt. We’re not coming back to do that. We’ve come back a couple days before Christmas to raise our salaries.”
Former three-term Republican Gov. George Pataki told the New York Post that he’d veto the raises if he were still in office, saying lawmakers “should be looking to give the Christmas presents to the people of New York, not themselves. Especially a legislature that has decimated the state’s criminal justice laws and spent irresponsibly and raised taxes to where New York City residents are the highest-taxed people in the state.”
The Senate voted 33-23 to pass the bill just before 2 p.m on Thursday. The Assembly followed with an 81-52 vote 90 minutes later.
The votes were on partisan lines, with Democrats largely supporting the measure and Republicans opposing it.
“This is the worst time, the worst time, to tell our constituents, ‘Empty your pockets. Tighten your belts even more,’ ” Senate Deputy Minority Leader Andrew Lanza said during the debate in Albany.
New York lawmakers will also be allowed to continue raking in unlimited outside income until 2025, when it would generally be capped at $35,000.
According to the U.S. Census, New York lost more residents than any other state from April 2020-July 2021. And moveBuddha’s data in 2022 shows New York has the fourth worst move ratio. About 1 in 5 of citizens leaving New York head to Florida.
The top reasons taxpayers are fleeing the Empire State, according to moveBuddha:
• The economy: With a third of New York’s businesses shuttered by the state’s restrictive Covid policies, current unemployment in New York County is 11.2% (the national average is 6%).
• Skyrocketing rents: Average rents have risen every year for the past five years, despite the declining population.
• Cost of living: The cost of living in New York City is 87% above the national average.
• High taxes: New York has the third-highest tax rate in the nation.