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Editorial: The perks of being an Albany leader

Members of the New York State Senate meet

Members of the New York State Senate meet at the Capitol in Albany. (June 23, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

$2.5 million - That's how much Albany leaders dole out in stipends to Senate and Assembly members on top of the annual salary of $79,500 for the part-time job. The leaders each get an extra $41,500 -- and the power to decide who gets how much. Chairs of top committees such as education or judiciary get an extra $18,000.

Reformers advocate adding the perks to a lawmaker's salary in return for banning outside income and the conflicts that come with it. Such a move would also weaken the power of the leaders. So far, no lawmaker has introduced such a bill.