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Cuomo proposes commission to consider lawmakers' pay raise

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo presents the fourth part

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo presents the fourth part of his "2015 Opportunity Agenda" during a presentation at New York University on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. Credit: Office of the Governor / Kevin P. Coughlin

After talk of a pay hike for lawmakers fizzled last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday proposed establishing a commission to address his salary, along with state legislators, other statewide elected officials and state-agency commissioners.

One idea the panel will develop is coming up with a “two-tiered legislative pay schedule that would set one salary for elected officials who do not earn any outside income and a lower salary for those who do,” the Cuomo administration said in a news release.

“To attract the best to state government, salaries for legislators, statewide officials and commissioners need to be commensurate with the talent needed to reshape New York,” the Cuomo administration said, adding: “However, any increase also needs to be linked to reform.”

State lawmakers have not raised their pay since December 1998.

State legislators receive a base pay of $79,500, though many lawmakers also get extra stipends for leading committees or serving in party leadership posts, which boost average pay closer to $100,000. Traditionally, any pay hike for legislators also means a pay hike for governor, other statewide elected officials and state-agency commissioners.

Legislators are considered part-time and are allowed outside incomes. Some haul in lucrative salaries from private companies or law firms.

The governor’s office said besides salaries the commission would evaluate lawmakers’ “per diems, expense reimbursement, and other nonsalary benefits.”

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