As New York City Mayor Eric Adams warns of an impending migrant catastrophe, Democrats voted to give themselves an elitist, tone-deaf, entitled Christmas present in the form of a record pay raise while shrugging off skyrocketing crime, the homeless crisis, and looming economic disaster.
(Video Credit: FOX 5 New York)
Democrats in the State Senate and Assembly displayed an epic level of hubris on Thursday by voting overwhelmingly to increase their taxpayer-funded pay to $142,000 a year. That’s a whopping $32,000 gift to themselves while New Yorkers suffer on multiple fronts.
The increase in pay makes Albany the highest-paid state legislature in the nation. The early Christmas gift came despite inaction on New York’s controversial bail reform law and the exploding illegal immigrant crisis.
The 29% pay increase to lawmakers’ $110,000 salary amounts to wages that are more than three times higher than the median $43,208 earned by average New Yorkers, according to the New York Post.
Adding insult to injury, New York lawmakers will also still be allowed to make unlimited outside income until 2025. The pay raise will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, if Gov. Kathy Hochul signs off on it during the lame-duck special session of the Legislature in Albany. She has 30 days after the end of the special session to sign or veto the raises. If Hochul vetoes the raises, they could still go into effect if two-thirds of both chambers override the veto.
Albany Democrats have overseen the managed decline of the great Empire State. Record outmigration, soaring taxes, and rising energy costs.
Now they think they deserve a $32,000 pay raise, while more and more New York families struggle to make ends meet.
Only in New York!
— Rep. Claudia Tenney (@RepTenney) December 22, 2022
The Senate unsurprisingly voted 32-23 in favor of the raise with Republicans and at least one Democrat voting against it. It was later approved 81-52 by the State Assembly.
Democrats argued heavily in favor of the pay raise. Senator Liz Krueger ranted on the issue, claiming she was surprised that it would even be opposed.
She defended the legislation, noting the concept of so-called “citizen legislators” at one point historically only consisted of white, land-owning men. She also defended the raise as a means to attract and retain the “best and brightest” as state lawmakers, claiming the job requires year-round work despite the part-time designation.
(Video Credit: Senator Liz Krueger)
Republican Sen. George Borrello definitely did not see it that way and accused Democrats 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,” he proclaimed from the Senate floor during a 3-hour debate, according to the New York Post. “We’ve come back a couple days before Christmas to raise our salaries.”
REPEATING: Those Democrat bastards will call a special session to raise their own pay, but not to save the lives of black and brown people in New York's cities. https://t.co/V45OXHIMc3
— Bob Lonsberry (@BobLonsberry) December 19, 2022
Borello released a fiery statement that hammered Democrats over the move.
“As most New Yorkers are busy preparing to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, the Democratic majorities in the State Legislature cooked up a self-serving feast of their own in the form of a whopping $32,000 pay raise. This increase means that New York State legislators will be the highest paid in the country at $142,000. Coming just weeks after a 2022 election where Democratic legislative candidates made no mention that a 29 percent pay raise for themselves was in the works, this deceitful move only confirms New Yorkers’ worst perceptions of its political leaders,” he said torching the leftists.
“What state residents have said they wanted in poll after poll was for legislators to return to Albany to fix the dangerous mess they’ve made of our criminal justice system. The Democratic majorities flatly rejected those requests. Instead, they pursued their own selfish agenda by passing legislation that will put legislators’ pay at nearly double the median household income for New York families. New Yorkers deserve better…far better. That is why I vehemently opposed this proposal and voted ‘no,’” the senator vented.
Republican State Sen. Pam Helming said the vote “makes it appear that many in this chamber are out of touch and more concerned with self-enrichment than providing much-needed relief” to everyday New Yorkers.
— NYS Senate Republicans (@nysenategop) December 22, 2022
Democratic outgoing state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick voted against the raises, declaring, “Inflation has hit everyone, and legislators increasing their pay at a time when people are feeling the pain of economic pressure doesn’t feel right.”
“If this were the right thing to do, we could have handled it during the regular session,” Reichlin-Melnick added.
I just voted against raising legislator salaries to $142K/yr. Inflation hit everyone, and legislators increasing their pay when people are feeling the pain of economic pressure doesn’t feel right. If this were the right thing to do, we could have handled it during regular session
— NYS Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (@senatorERM) December 22, 2022
Outgoing Republican Assemblyman Mike Lawler tweeted, “Driving up to Albany this morning — not to do anything consequential or to tackle the issues facing New Yorkers, of course not. We are being called up to give Albany Democrats a $32,000 pay raise. @GovKathyHochul should be embarrassed for going along with this. Weak and pathetic.”
Driving up to Albany this morning — not to do anything consequential or to tackle the issues facing New Yorkers, of course not. We are being called up to give Albany Democrats a $32,000 pay raise. @GovKathyHochul should be embarrassed for going along with this. Weak and pathetic.
— Mike Lawler (@lawler4ny) December 22, 2022
He added, “When I was elected to Congress last month, I didn’t think my final remarks to my Assembly colleagues would be in regards to a massive $32,000 pay raise they were voting to give themselves. Unfortunately, the majority in Albany decided to pass this out-of-touch bill.”
When I was elected to Congress last month, I didn’t think my final remarks to my Assembly colleagues would be in regards to a massive $32,000 pay raise they were voting to give themselves. Unfortunately, the majority in Albany decided to pass this out-of-touch bill. pic.twitter.com/tUqtXVMGfT
— Mike Lawler (@lawler4ny) December 23, 2022
According to the New York Post, Hochul attempted to tie the pay raise to tougher bail rules for defendants charged with violent felonies, domestic offenses, and hate crimes.
She reportedly backed off that move after Democratic state Sen. John Mannion won reelection by 10 votes Monday following a recount of his tight race with Republican Rebecca Shiroff. That win extended the Democrats’ veto-proof supermajorities in both the Senate and Assembly.
Former three-term Republican Gov. George Pataki told the New York Post that 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,” he charged.
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